The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) has launched a new $40,000, annual prize: the Helen Frankenthaler Award for Painting. Established to honor the memory of Helen Frankenthaler—an early advocate for the foundation—and to support artists who have demonstrated Frankenthaler’s passion for innovation and experimentation in the medium, the inaugural prize will go to New York-based artist Kerstin Brätsch.
“Helen would like nothing better than to see us supporting artists who carry on her pioneering approach to art making—and her adventurous spirit,” said Clifford Ross, board chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, which is underwriting the grant. “FCA gives us the perfect opportunity to support new generations of visual artists.”
The Helen Frankenthaler Award for Painting will be made annually through FCA’s signature Grants to Artists program. Established in 1993, Grants to Artists provides unrestricted assistance to individual artists working in all disciplines. Brätsch was selected for the honor by FCA’s directors and a panel comprising art historian and author Bettina Funcke; musician Jenny Lin; curator at The Kitchen Matthew Lyons; and playwright, director, and New York City Players artistic director Richard Maxwell.
Commenting on her practice which often incorporates installation, sculpture, and performance Brätsch said: “To question the agency of painting and engage with the expanded field of painting, I invite artisanal practices (such as stained glass, paper marbling, Stucco marmo) and collaborative projects into the equation of painting history. My work does not exist in isolation, but rather as objects of exchange and interaction.”