Renowned East Hampton artist Audrey Flack will be receiving a Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) Lifetime Achievement Award next month in New York City.
The first awards recognizing the contribution of women to the arts and their profound effect on society, the WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards were originally presented in 1979 in President Jimmy Carter’s Oval Office to Isabel Bishop, Selma Burke, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson and Georgia O’Keeffe. In 1980, Flack nominated Springs artist Lee Krasner, who received the award later that year. Today, the WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards continue to honor women, their work, their vision and their commitment.
Flack, 85, is a pioneer of Photorealism and the only woman in the groundbreaking group, which also included luminaries such as John Baeder, Richard Estes, Ralph Goings and Chuck Close, among others. She is a world famous painter and sculptor, and was, with Mary Cassat, the first female artist to be included in Janson’s History of Art text. Flack’s work is in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art and the National Museum of Art in Canberra, Australia. She was the first Photorealist painter to have work purchased by MoMA.
In a time when abstract sculpture ruled the public sphere, Flack’s monumental public sculpture featuring images of mythological goddesses and religious figures led a return to representational public art. She set out to present heroic and powerful women who transcend past roles as sex objects and damsels in distress. Instead, her subjects demonstrate strength and intelligence, as well as inner and outer beauty. Flack, who moved to three-dimensional work later in her career, in the 1980s, is a self-taught sculptor.
Her painting and sculpture has been is exhibitions all over the world, including her 1950–1990 traveling retrospective Breaking the Rules—Audrey Flack, 2015’s Audrey Flack, the Abstract Expressionist Years at NYC’s Hollis Taggart Galleries and, most recently, the 2015–2016 traveling show Heroines: Audrey Flack’s Transcendent Drawings and Prints, to name just a small handful.
Along with Flack, art historian, curator and former dean of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Mary Schmidt Campbell, artist Martha Rosler, and Academic Dean of the college at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Charlene Teters will be honored. Art dealer and art historian Kat Griefen will receive the 2017 President’s Award for Art & Activism.
The celebration—which takes place on Saturday, February 18 at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), located at 1871 Broadway at 61st Street in Manhattan—opens with a cocktail reception from 6–7:30 p.m. The reception is a ticketed affair (available here) and guests will be treated to three food stations, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and the opportunity to meet and congratulate the honorees. The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public in the NYIT auditorium, runs from 8–9:30 p.m.