May 13, 2007 - Herb Alpert Foundation - Five ‘Wildly Independent Experimenters’ Win Alpert Award in the Arts
May 13, 2007

Five ‘Wildly Independent Experimenters’ Win Alpert Award in the Arts

Five ‘Wildly Independent Experimenters’ Win Alpert Award in the Arts
Annual Award from Artist and Philanthropist Herb Alpert Honors Integrity, Independence and Promise Across Five Disciplines

Fifty Percent Increase in Prize Amount Makes Award the Largest of its Kind

The Herb Alpert Foundation announced today the 2007 recipients of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts. Created by artist and philanthropist Herb Alpert, the award is an unrestricted $75,000 prize a 50 percent increase this year over previous years given annually to five daring artists in the fields of dance, film, music, theatre and the visual arts. Widely held as visionaries by their peers, the winners are selected by panels of prominent critics, artists and administrators.

This years recipients represent the essence of the Alpert Award in the Arts, said Alpert. The winners are wildly independent experimenters who think about and respond to the world beyond their studio walls. As artists driven more by their individual visions and passions than by what is safe or trendy, they are truly challenging art, their own disciplines and society as a whole.

Alpert began the national awards in 1994 in order to counter what he saw as disturbing cuts in public funding of the arts and in artistic freedom. To recognize and support the practices of fearless, socially responsive artists, he teamed up with the California Institute of the Arts.

The 2007 awardees, picked from a nationwide pool of nominees, all live in New York City the first time one city is the source of all Alpert winners. They include:
Jeanine Durning, Dance: The virtuoso dance-maker and performer creates mysterious, haunting pieces each different from the next. (One work was performed inside a moving truck outside the theatre, with the roll-up door was the curtain and the dance space lit by street lamps and flashlights.) She has been described as having a transforming power and, in 2003, was selected for the New York Times Top Ten Dances and Dancers of the Year. Her performing has been called madly exquisite, and her latest piece, out of the kennel into a home, was called odd and disturbing to watch but impossible to look away from…a psychological work that avoids the clichés of modern dance.
Mark Feldman, Music: The composer/performer/improviser melds classical violin with jazz and improvisational styles. His unconventional approach has caught the attention of others; Feldman has recorded with Willie Nelson, John Zorn, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Lee Konitz, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne and Johnny Cash. The prestigious Kronos Quartet commissioned and performed one of his string quartets, and he has appeared as a violin soloist with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the WDR Radio Orchestra of Cologne, Germany both of which commissioned concertos specifically for Feldman to perform.
Jacqueline Goss, Film/Video: The work by this experimental video-maker and new media artist explores the collision and tensions between science, mapping systems and other manmade efforts to order the world. Her work combines animation with documentary film, transforming both genres and creating a new hybrid form. Her short videos, which integrate 2-D animation, take on subjects as varied as Helen Keller, the Human Genome Project and map making. Gosss next project is an animated fictional work inspired by Thomas Manns Magic Mountain, the movie The Breakfast Club and the metric system about 10 characters attending an international conference in Switzerland. She also plans to make a part fictional, part documentary film about the 2008 Presidential primary in her small New Hampshire hometown.
Cynthia Hopkins, Theatre: When on stage, this musician, performance artist and storyteller assumes multiple alter-egos during a mix of media performances Sufi dance trances, PowerPoint presentations, video, confessional memoir and alt-country rock numbers. Her latest piece, Must Don’t Whip Um, chronicles a daughters efforts to make a documentary about her mother, a failed and missing rock star. Her 2004 production, Accidental Nostalgia, put Hopkins on the map. Through monologue, song and video, she tells the story of an amnesiac neurologist on a quest to trigger her missing memories and literally change her mind. Hopkins is currently working on a new album of love songs and writing a new show that takes place in the very distant future, exploring the long-term effects of the human race on the universe.
Walid Raad, Visual Arts: Although he moved to Boston as a teenager, Raad was born in Beirut and says his formative years belong to the years of the Lebanese wars. His works explore the experiences and representations of war through video, photography and performance. The Atlas Group, a 14-year project about the contemporary history of Lebanon, is a collection of documents that present a fictional universe that explores the cultural, political and psychological effects of the Lebanese wars. It includes the notebooks of Dr. Fadl Fakhoury, an imaginary, historian of the wars. Raads videotape, Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (#17 and #31) – English Version, presents the fictional testimony of an Arab man held hostage in Lebanon in the 1980s alongside Americans Terry Anderson, David Jacobsen and others. The videotape explores the literary, sexual and political dimensions of the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s.

The talent and promise of these artists are staggering, and we cannot wait to see what they do next, said Irene Borger, Director of the Alpert Award in the Arts. The Alpert Award in the Arts aims to invest in artists at a moment in their lives when they are poised to propel their work in new and completely unpredictable directions.

Past winners have gone on to take their work to new levels of exposure, impact and critical acclaim, including other awards and distinctions. Some previous winners include: Coco Fusco, Jim Hodges, Ann Carlson, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Rtmark, George Lewis, Bill Morrison, Catherine Opie, Suzan-Lori Parks and Cai Guo Qiang.

This years Alpert Award winners, like their predecessors, are respected for their ingenuity and impressive bodies of work, said Steven Lavine, President of CalArts. They are chosen for their promise, as well as a commitment to the world around them.

Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation, added, This award recognizes artists who, much like Herb himself, embody the spirit of giving back. Many winners use the Alpert Award to inspire, teach and support other artists.

Winners hold week-long teaching residencies at CalArts, and some have also performed or exhibited their work at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater in Los Angeles. The concept of winners sharing their knowledge and experience with other artists is central to the award program that Herb Alpert and CalArts created.

Alperts own artistic success began in music, as he introduced the Tijuana Brass sound to broad audiences. He also formed the hit record label A&M with Jerry Moss, which became a music recording empire renowned for nurturing new artists, such as Quincy Jones.

Both men were named Icons of the Music Industry at the 2007 Grammys, and Alpert also won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Grammys. He has produced award-winning plays on Broadway and, for over twenty-five years, has created and widely exhibited his paintings and sculptures.

About the Herb Alpert Foundation
The Herb Alpert Foundation, a non-profit, private foundation established in the early 1980′s, makes significant annual contributions to a range of programs that support the arts, arts education, and compassion and well-being. Its funding is directed toward projects in which Herb and Lani Alpert and Foundation President Rona Sebastian play an active role. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.
About the California Institute of the Arts
The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the U.S. created specially for students of the visual and the performing arts. The Institute was established through the merger of two well-established professional schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, founded in 1883, and The Chouinard Art Institute, founded in 1921. The Institute is comprised of six related schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theatre. CalArts encourages students to recognize the complexity of political, social and aesthetic questions and to respond to them with informed, independent judgment. Supported by its distinguished faculty of practicing artists, CalArts offers BFA and MFA degree programs in Art, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theatre, and an MFA program in Critical Studies. In recognition of the Institutes artistic excellence, The Herb Alpert Foundation selected CalArts to administer and collaborate creatively in the establishment of the Awards Program.

For more information, contact: Sarah Bacon 212-584-5000 ext. 318, sbacon@fenton.com or Joy Engel 415-901-0111 ext. 309 jengel@fenton.com

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