July 8, 2008 - Portland Art Museum - Awards Arlene Schnitzer Prize to Whiting Tennis
July 8, 2008

Awards Arlene Schnitzer Prize to Whiting Tennis

Arlene Schnitzer Prize

1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205


The Portland Art Museum is proud to announce that Seattle artist Whiting Tennis was awarded the first Arlene Schnitzer Prize during the opening celebration for the inaugural Contemporary Northwest Art Awards on June 14. Dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments of emerging and under-recognized contemporary artists based in the Northwest, this exhibition includes new and recent work by Tennis, who is one of five awards artists presented. The exhibition is on view through September 14, 2008.

Tennis’s recent paintings and sculptures combine formal strategies with a funk aesthetic that calls attention to the accumulation of neglected objects and the detritus of the American experience. Tennis was selected from the five featured artists to receive this unrestricted 10,000 USD cash prize by a panel composed of the Museum’s executive director and its six curators. Named in honor of philanthropist and longtime Museum patron Arlene Schnitzer, the Prize acknowledges Tennis’s accomplishments and the innovation of his work in this exhibition.

Tennis was born in 1959 in Hampton, Virginia. From 1979 to 1981, he studied at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg before undertaking independent studies with Jacob Lawrence at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received a BFA from the University of Washington in 1984. His work has been featured in museums and alternative spaces such as the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut; Chicago’s Artists Space; the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington; and Seattle’s SOIL and Wright Exhibition Space. Tennis has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at galleries, including Derek Eller Gallery in New York and Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle. He received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1993 and the 2007 Neddy Artist Fellowship. His work is included in public collections including those of the Seattle Art Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum.

About the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards
Expanding the Museum’s 116-year commitment to celebrating and exhibiting the art of the region, the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards is a new biennial program dedicated to recognizing emerging and nationally under-recognized artists living in the Northwest. Regional arts professionals from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming nominated more than 250 artists based on the quality of their work, innovation, continuity of vision and relevance to community or global issues in contemporary art. Portland Art Museum Curator Jennifer A. Gately reviewed the nominees’ materials and selected 28 finalists with guest curatorial advisor James Rondeau, Curator and Chair of the Department of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Gately then conducted extensive studio visits with each finalist before announcing the 2008 Contemporary Northwest Art Award recipients: Dan Attoe, Cat Clifford, Jeffry Mitchell, Whiting Tennis and Marie Watt. Their achievements are recognized with an award, an honorarium and an in-depth presentation within the special exhibition. The artists and their work are also featured in the accompanying full-color catalogue and related educational programming.

The Contemporary Northwest Art Awards is presented in part by the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowments for Northwest Art and The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

About the Portland Art Museum
The seventh oldest museum in the United States and the oldest on the West Coast, the Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection and ambitious special exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s holdings and the world’s finest public and private collections. The Museum’s collection of more than 42,000 objects, displayed in 112,000 square feet of galleries, reflects the history of art from ancient times to today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of North America, English silver and the graphic arts. An active collecting institution, dedicated to preserving great art for the enrichment of future generations, the Museum devotes 90 percent of its galleries to its permanent collection. The Museum’s campus of landmark buildings, a cornerstone of Portland’s cultural district, includes the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, the Schnitzer Center for Northwest Art, the Northwest Film Center and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art. With a membership of over 23,000 households and serving more than 350,000 visitors annually, the Museum is a premier venue for education in the visual arts. For information on exhibitions, programs, hours and admission, please call 503.226.2811 or visit www.portlandartmuseum.org

Image above:
On view in the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, left to right: Whiting Tennis, The New Green, 2007, Lumber, plywood, paint, and visqueen, Courtesy Derek Eller Gallery, New York; Bitter Lake Compound, 2008, Acrylic and collage on canvas, Courtesy Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle; The White Nun, 2006, Lumber, plywood, paint, and asphalt shingles, Collection of the artist.

Portland Art Museum
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