The 2015 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts

Herb Alpert said of the 2015 HAAIA winners, “It’s exciting to be able to support these five unique artists who are always on the hunt for something they don’t yet know, something real that touches us in a deep place. Whether they are writing a concerto, making a film, an installation, a ruckus or a dance, they always look for something special and original to say. These are artists with the passion, talent and the restlessness that never makes them stop. They HAVE TO make art not just for themselves… but for all of US.”

The awards recognize past performance and future promise to artists working in Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts; an outstanding candidate in each genre receives a prize of $75,000.

“We are delighted to celebrate the winners of The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts,” says Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation. “Now in its 21st year, the program honors and supports five innovative and courageous mid–career artists, chosen for their vital work which embodies the transformative power of the arts. We look forward to their continued explorations and success.”

The California Institute of the Arts, more commonly referred to as CalArts, has administered the awards since their inception. CalArts President Steven D. Lavine said, “Nothing is more precious for artists than the gift of time to dive deeply into their work. But art is also almost always about generosity and sharing. The Herb Alpert Awards generously underwrite that creative time as well as the weeklong residency that each artist does at CalArts, allowing the Herb Alpert recipients to share generously with the next generation of art makers.”

“Each of this year’s winners makes us stop, draw on our own vulnerability, and extend our thinking,” says Irene Borger, Director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. She describes why the 2015 winners were chosen.

DANCE:
Maria Hassabi, for changing the nature of spectatorship, for challenging conventional ideas about performance, for stripping away busyness and the ornamentation of dancing to allow for rare contemplative experience.

FILM/VIDEO:
Sharon Lockhart, for her films which combine structural rigor, formal exactitude, exquisite beauty, intimate attention, commitment to a cinema of duration, and a sympathetic ethnographic eye in a post–minimalist aesthetic entirely her own.

MUSIC:
Julia Wolfe, for her fresh, uncompromising artistry, her vibrant, direct, and emotionally powerful works generous and bold in spirit and her engagement with socially conscious issues, a tradition that is passionately and unapologetically American to the core.

THEATRE:
Taylor Mac, for his fierce, disarming, beautiful, transgressive, emotionally vulnerable work; for social critique disguised as glitter, ambitious scope, and for effervescently rearranging audiences perceptions while creating a great time.

VISUAL ARTS:
Tania Bruguera, for the complexity, longevity, and urgency of her work, for her strong formal clarity and ongoing contribution to international conversations on freedom of speech and illegal immigration. The panel honors her for her commitment to resisting market pressures in order to seek an ethics of what art can do, and recognize the innovative ways she has reinvented the language of activism within contemporary culture.

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