Home/YOKO ONO/Awards/Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Awards for the Arts 2012

Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Awards for the Arts 2012

Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Awards for the Arts 2012

February 26, 2012, New York City at a private dinner at The Modern, MoMA, NYC.

Four years ago, at the height of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the press filled with tales of heroic displays of great courage in the face of adversity, I began to think about the meaning of courage.

We bring to mind the courageous fire fighter saving a child from a burning building. We think of the mountain climber trudging to the summit. Images of a parent or neighbor rushing into the line of fire to save a child from the savages of war; memories of someone half-drowned, dragged to shore by a stranger; stories of courage in wars, earthquakes, storms, famines, fill our minds when we hear the word courage. But not in the arts.

I realized that an artist seeking to tell the truth in her art takes great courage, too. A musician who sticks to his form of music, no matter how unpopular, is courage. I knew to stand up against hatred and prejudice, discrimination and racism as an artist, and that needed courage.

I recognize the courage required to bring children together from Israeli and Palestinian communities to find commonality in music as a very powerful and effective beginning towards Peace.

I understand the courage it takes to stage exhibitions by artists who question the lawfulness of acts by the government in a conservative art institution.

Finally, I recognize the suffering and courage of a woman who made a difference by telling the truth as a way to end sexism.

In 2009, I decided to honor courage in the Arts. To recognize artists, musicians, collectors, curators, writers – those who sought the truth in their work, and had the courage to stick to it, no matter what. And with this courage, I see an avenue to peace. Each year, I choose several recipients to honor their work as an expression of my vision of courage.

WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)
I love you!


Yoko Ono
February 7, 2012


The recipients of The Courage Awards for the Arts 2012 are:

Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar
Sabine Breitwieser & Jenny Schlenzka
Kate Millett
Carolee Schneemann
Martha Wilson


Photos from The Courage Awards for the Arts 2012


Musicians of the Polyphony Conservatory performing at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Martha Wilson, artist and Founding Director of Franklin Furnace, receiving a Courage Award from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Martha Wilson, artist and Founding Director of Franklin Furnace receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.

Kate Millett, recipient of a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts, with Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar, recipient of a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts (second from right), Yotam Baruch (cello), Meiss Hreish (flute), Firas Machour (violin), Majd Machour (piano), Ola Nassar (viola), Yamen Saadi (violin), Uri Tibon (piano), Ron Trachtman (piano) with Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar, Founding Director of the Barenboim-Said Conservatory now Polyphony Conservatory in Nazareth, receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator of MoMA PS1 and Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art, receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator of MoMA PS1 and Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art, receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Kate Millett receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012. Jon Hendricks, curator of Yoko Ono Exhibitions (center).


Carolee Schneemann, artist, receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Carolee Schneemann, artist, receiving a 2012 Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Musicians of the Polyphony Conservatory with Yoko Ono at Yoko Ono Lennon’s Courage Awards 2012 event at The Modern, New York City, February 26, 2012.


Music, art, innovation, peace: Yoko Ono presents 2012 Courage Awards for the Arts

by Edward M Gomez

NEW YORK – At a private dinner gathering yesterday evening at The Modern, a restaurant on the ground floor of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) building on West 53rd Street in Manhattan, multimedia artist Yoko Ono Lennon presented her 2012 Courage Awards for the Arts to the Nazareth-based violinist and music teacher Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar, a co-founder of the Polyphony Foundation, a music-education organization whose mission statement notes that it “believes in the power of music to spark conversations and bridge the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel.” Ono also honored the artist, human-rights activist and author Kate Millet, whose ground-breaking book, Sexual Politics (1970), offered a probing critique of patriarchy in Western society and culture; the feminist performance artist Carolee Schneemann, who famously used her own body as the subject and raw material of her work; the performance artist and founder of New York’s Franklin Furnace Archive, Martha Wilson; and the museum curators Sabine Breitwieser and Jenny Schlenzka. Breitwieser is currently the chief curator of media and performance art at MoMA. Schlenzka is an associate curator at MoMA P.S. 1, the branch of the museum in Queens that focuses on contemporary-art programming.

Breitwieser and Schlenzka had organized a public reading at MoMA last November of a portion of the transcript of the U.S. military tribunals that took place during the latter part of the Bush-Cheney administration at the American naval base in Guantánamo, Cuba. On Ono’s website, Imagine Peace, Breitwieser recalls that, after arriving at MoMA last fall, she had “wanted to emphasize performance as a collective and participatory project.” With that goal in mind, she “thought it would be interesting to examine if a public action or performance [could] create a ‘collective experience’ and a ‘collective memory’ among the performer(s), the audience, the space and the organizing institution.” Breitwieser notes that, in fact, the written record of the tribunal proceedings did seem to take on a new character when it was publicly “performed.” The reader-paticipants in last November’s event told her and Schlenzka, who had worked as a curator in the field of performance art before at MoMA, that, as Breitwieser puts it, “while reading the text[,] something happened with it[;] it turned into something else.”

Ono has explained that she created her annual awards as a way to “recognize artists, musicians, collectors, curators, writers—those who sought the truth in their work and had the courage to stick to it, no matter what. And with this courage, I see an avenue to peace. Each year, I choose several recipients to honor their work as an expression of my vision of courage.”

In accepting her award, Schneemann noted that, because Ono’s prize comes from one artist to another, for her it seems to honor “the grandeur of intimacy” that artists share and cherish among themselves in a community in which new ideas are always percolating. “Just keep doing it!” Ono replied, referring to Schneemann’s often controversial art-making, in which the frequently naked female body has played a symbolic role as both a laboratory in or a battleground on which ideas about artistic creativity and various notions of power have been played out.

Wilson, who founded the Franklin Furnace Archive in downtown Manhattan in 1976 as an alternative kind of museum and venue for performance art and other new, ephermeral art forms, with which mainstream institutions could not or would not keep up, recalled hearing Ono’s screaming against pounding rock rhythms and experimental vocalizations in moody sound collages on her 1970 record album, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. “I was a young woman from a conservative, Quaker family in Pennsylvania,” Wilson remembered. She added, with a mixture of seriousness and irony, “I heard you scream, and that scream expressed all the frustration I had long felt for having been born female—and inspired me to overcome it and not be afraid to pursue my own life as an artist.”

Later during the evening, Ono told me: “These awards are very meaningful to me. I’m deeply inspired by all the honorees—by their courage, their determination, their spirit. In their own ways, they’re all working for peace.”


Previous recipients of The Courage Awards for the Arts were:

2011

Simone Forti
Jean-Jacques Lebel
Meredith Monk
Yvonne Rainer

2010

Guerrilla Girls
GuerrillaGirlsBroadBand
Guerrilla Girls on Tour
Printed Matter
Emile Zola

2009

Gilbert & Lila Silverman
La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela


Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar

 

Statement:

Music has the power to go directly to the heart of each one of us, transcending cultural and social boundaries. Music unites our students, a new generation, and provides opportunity, education and friendship. These beliefs inspire all that we do at Polyphony Foundation. By introducing classical music to our young students who come from diverse backgrounds and communities, we open their minds and their hearts. Our programs are based on the principle that creating new channels for engagement between young members of Israel’s Arab and Jewish communities is an essential step towards the creation of a just and peaceful society. By empowering these children to become artists, to make wonderful music, they become part of an inclusive international community.

Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar

Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Polyphony Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that uses music to bridge the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel and to serve as a model worldwide for cooperation based on cultural exchange, dialogue, and partnerships. Along with fellow co-founders Craig and Deborah Cogut, and Cher, Mr. Abboud-Ashkar launched the Polyphony Foundation in 2011. Through his leadership, Polyphony currently reaches more than 2,000 Arab and Jewish young people in Israel, and provides training and employment for over 40 musicians and teachers.

Born in Nazareth/Israel in 1978, Mr. Abboud-Ashkar has witnessed first-hand the dearth of musical education programs in his surroundings, and has resolved to bring greater access to children in his hometown.

Mr. Abboud-Ashkar graduated from Tel Aviv University in both physics and music, studying violin under Semyon Yaroshevich and Yair Kless. In 2007 he completed his Masters degree at the Hochschule fur Musik, Rostock, Germany, under Professor Axel Wilczok. He is a member of the West-Eastern Divan orchestra since its founding.

Mr. Abboud-Ashkar is a founding member of the Barenboim-Said Music Conservatory in Nazareth, which in 2011 was officially renamed the Polyphony Conservatory. He currently serves as Director of the Polyphony Conservatory and head of the violin teaching department. He has performed as soloist with the Jerusalem Camerata and the Haifa Symphony orchestras, and in Jordan together with Ivry Gitlis he played the Bach Double Violin Concerto under conductor David Stern. His students are winners of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation awards amongst others.


Sabine Breitwieser and Jenny Schlenzka

 

Statement:

Combatant Status Review Tribunals, pp. 002954–003064: A Public Reading at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 12-13, 2011. Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Ashley Hunt, Katya Sander, and David Thorne.

The decision to stage the reading of the Guantanamo tribunal transcripts grew out of the recently acquired multi-channel video installation, 9 Scripts from a Nation at War, which premiered at documenta 12 in 2007, and which MoMA’s Department of Media and Performance Art has acquired and recently installed in The Yoshiko and Akio Morita Gallery where it will be on view from January 25 to August 6, 2012.

Arriving as the new Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA, I wanted to emphasize performance as a collective and participatory project during my first year. I thought it would be interesting to examine if a public action or performance can create a “collective experience” and a “collective memory” among the performer(s), the audience, the space, and the organizing institution.

In his book on The Production of Space the philosopher Henri Lefebvre1 describes space as a social product and medium. He points to the conflict “between a space that increasingly becomes an exchange value and a yet inhabited space that only has use value to the extent that the exchange value could not succeed in totally destroying it or making it disappear.” Lefebvre refers to urban public space but if we consider the museum as a repository of history through artifacts what else is it than a public space. So the question is how can we utilize this space for what Jacques Rancière has described as “common affairs”2 and help that people will be able to participate in this space beyond use value but to share certain ethical or social values.

In regard to the installation 9 Scripts from a Nation at War and the public reading of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, pp. 002954–003064 it might be worth thinking about what motivates artists to engage in a debate on war when invited to participate in one of the most important international exhibitions. It seems that exhibitions bringing together artists from countries with varying social and political conditions, using the exhibition as a platform to articulate concerns, can evoke or even facilitate such an engagement. In wartime, as public opinion is carefully crafted, managed, and policed by governments, mass media, and political parties, artists can create unique spaces in which viewers may contemplate their relationships to war: spaces that allow for speech, performance, critical thinking, and responses that are otherwise not permitted.

Together with Jenny Schlenzka, who has already worked on performance projects at MoMA for several years, we conceived a series of projects experimenting with this notion of collectivity in various ways. In this context we felt it was of importance to stage the reading of the Guantanamo tribunal transcripts in a public place like MoMA. Though the tribunals took place more than six years ago and the United States of America has a new government, the reading of the scripts felt as relevant and pressing as ever.

Our impression after first staging the CSRT performance in November last year, was that something like the expected did indeed happen. The readers reported that while reading the text something happened with it, it turned into something else. Can you imagine that some of the people quoted in the tribunals are still in prison?

Combatant Status Review Tribunals, pp. 002954–003064 will be staged again at MoMA in a few weeks only and with partly new readers, this time at MoMA’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium on April 27 and 28, 2012, noon to 4:00 p.m.

– Sabine Breitwieser, February 8, 2012

*1 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-­‐Smith (Basil Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 1991.

*2 Jacques Rancière, “The Politics of Art and its Paradoxes,” trans. David Quigley, in: Brumaria, vol. 9 (fall 2007): 331–332

Sabine Breitwieser

Sabine Breitwieser is the Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since 2004 she is board member of CIMAM – International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, from 2007-2010 she was active as Secretary and Treasurer in the board of CIMAM. She is also a Corresponding Member of the Secession, Association of Artists, in Vienna.

From 1988 until 2007 she was the Founding Director and Curator of the Generali Foundation in Vienna for which she has built the program and an important collection published in Exhibitions 1989-2007 (2008) and in Occupying Space (2003). Under her era the museum building of the Generali Foundation has been constructed and opened in 1995 (Jabornegg/Pálffy architects). She has curated numerous projects and edited as many publications, retrospectives and monographic books of artists such as Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Andrea Fraser, Mary Kelly, Edward Krasiński, Gordon Matta-Clark, Gustav Metzger, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and thematic projects such as Utopia and Monument (2009-2010 Graz), Modernologies (2009 Barcelona, 2010 Warsaw), Designs for the Real World (2002), double life (2001), RE-PLAY (2000), vivencias/life experience (2000), or White Cube/Black Box (1996).

Since her arrival at MoMA in fall 2011 she has curated Harun Farocki: Images of War (at a Distance), and two multi-day performance projects, Grand Openings Return of the Blogs, and Combatant Status Review Tribunals, pp. 002954-00304: A Public Reading by Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Ashley Hunt, Katya Sander, and David Thorne. She is currently working on two in 2012 upcoming exhibitions, 9 scripts of a nation at war (by the same collective as the reading of the Guantanamo Tribunals) and Performing Histories. A major initiative of her that will be launched at the Museum in 2012 is the Media Lounge designed by Renée Green that will give access to the entire video collection on a daily level. Additionally she is also working on a retrospective of Isa Genzken (with Laura Hoptman) scheduled for fall 2013.

Jenny Schlenzka

Jenny Schlenzka is the Associate Curator at MoMA PS1, New York where she is mainly in charge of the live programming. From 2008-2012 she was Assistant Curator for Performance in the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she was the first curator to focus on presenting, collecting, as well as exhibiting performance-based art, and where she co-organized the Performance Exhibition Series with artists like Tehching Hsieh, Simone Forti, Roman Ondak, Xavier Leroy, and Allora & Calzadilla among many others.

Prior to working at the Museum, Schlenzka worked as a curatorial liaison between KW, Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and P.S.1, Contemporary Art Center, New York, where she helped organizing exhibitions such as Into Me / Out of Me (2006), Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz (2007), Political/ Minimal (2008). In 2008 she organized the group show, through a glass, darkly, at RedLine, Denver, and edited the accompanying catalog. Schlenzka received her Master’s in Cultural Studies at the Humboldt University, Berlin, in 2007. She is currently writing a dissertation on the notion of time in the splitscreen image at University of Applied Arts, Vienna.


Kate Millett

 

Statement:

What goes largely unexamined, often even unacknowledged in our present social order is the birthright priority whereby males rule females. Through this system a most ingenious form of ‘interior colonization’ has been achieved. It is one which tends to be sturdier than any form of segregation, more rigorous than class stratification, more uniform, certainly more enduring. However muted its present appearance may be, sexual dominion obtains, nevertheless, as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power.

This is so because our society, like all other historical civilizations, is a patriarchy. The fact is evident at once if one recalls that the military, industry, technology, universities, science, political office, and finance, in short every avenue of power within the society, including the coercive force of the police, is entirely in male hands. As the essence of politics is power, such realization cannot fail to carry impact. What lingers of supernatural authority, the Deity, ‘His’ ministry, together with the ethics and values, the philosophy and art of our culture – its very civilization – as T. S. Eliot once observed, is of male manufacture.

– Kate Millett, from Sexual Politics, 1969

Kate Millett

Kate Millett is a writer, artist and human rights advocate. She was described by The New York Times as “one of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century.”

Kate was born in 1934 in St. Paul Minnesota and educated at the University of Minnesota, Oxford University and at Columbia University where in 1970, she was awarded her Ph.D with Distinction for her thesis, Sexual Politics. Since this landmark work in feminist theory, she has published another 10 books, variously of autobiography, Flying, Sita, Elegy for Sita, Going to Iran, The Loony-Bin Trip, AD and Mother Millett; and works of political and social analysis, The Prostitution Papers, The Basement and The Politics of Cruelty.

Kate has been working and exhibiting as a sculptor, painter and photographer since she moved to New York and took up residence on The Bowery in 1959. “I’m a sculptor who writes.” She once remarked. From 1961 -1963 Kate lived and worked in Japan. It was there she met fellow sculptor, the late Fumio Yoshimura whom she married in 1965.

Throughout her adult life, Kate has worked tirelessly on behalf of the rights of women, mental patients and the elderly. Her FBI file is in itself a work of art: in 1970 and again in the 1990s, even her sculpture, “The American Flag Goes to Pot” was arrested.

Both in her writing and in her art, Kate has chosen to explore the themes of entrapment, confinement, and subjugation. About her sculpture, she states: “My work is about people and things in cages. Its how I view Capital, housing for the aged and the poor.”

At 77, Kate says, “I’m trying to get out of cages now and into happier things like “Bureaucracy.” In October 2012, Kate will travel to Mumbai and Bangalore to oversee the installation of a collaborative work entitled “Corruption”.

For the past 34 years, Kate has operated an art colony for women at her farm in Upstate NY. She still lives on The Bowery in New York City.


Carolee Schneemann

 

Work Description Statement:

A commotion of energies, a grasp of moment, momentum made visible through the layering of various materials. Touching upon and pulling apart to configure the inside and outside of perceived forms. Influenced by archaic traditions while breaking the boundaries of cultural taboos. I have continued to work in varied disciplines: photography, performance, video and installation maintaining the body as the primal presence to unify visual concepts. My most recent work is the multi-channel projection installation “Precarious”– a multi-dimensional environment of images of animals, prisoners, persons dancing in captivity. Underway now are the motorized sculptures “Flange 6rpm”, cast aluminum with computer-controlled motions.

– Carolee Schneemann, February 6, 2012

Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann, multidisciplinary artist, transformed the definition of art, especially discourse on the body, sexuality, and gender. The history of her work is characterized by research into archaic visual traditions, pleasure wrested from suppressive taboos, the body of the artist in dynamic relationship with the social body.

The Museum of Modern Art in NYC recently featured her installation Up To And Including Her Limits in the exhibit “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century”. Her multidisciplinary work has been shown at innumerable venues around the world. A retrospective including film, video installations, kinetic sculptures has recently traveled from Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NY to the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle to the Krannert Museum, Champaign-Urbana (February – April 2012). Her letters are the subject of Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle, edited by Kristine Stiles (Duke University Press, 2010). Additional publications include Imaging Her Erotics – Essays, Interviews, Projects (MIT Press 2003, 2004) and More Than Meat Joy: Complete Performance Work and Selected Writing (McPherson & Co. 1979, 1997).


Martha Wilson

 

Statement:

I became a performance artist (and created a day job to support my life) in order to enjoy complete freedom of expression in my work.

Some years back, Franklin Furnace Board member Henry Korn asked me if I thought Franklin Furnace got in trouble during the Culture Wars because as a performance artist I impersonate First Ladies. But I don’t think so: In 1994, I was asked to perform in the Women’s Caucus for Art “Body Politic” evenings at Cooper Union. Alyson Pou, organizer of this series, got a call from Tipper Gore’s office, asking if Mrs. Gore was expected to give a speech in New York? Alyson said, “…it’s satire.” The aide on the phone said, “What’s satire?”

Political satire (embodying another’s personality) is the opposite of my early work (exploring my own personality through performance). Now I appreciate the many ways that politics and performance art are one and the same–as well as the ways performance artists’ tactics have been appropriated by protestors worldwide.

100 years ago, the Italian Futurists proposed the radical concept that the past was irrelevant and only the future had value; nowadays, pretty much everybody believes that progress is our most important product. Artists can change the world. All we have to do is keep going!

– Martha Wilson, February 9, 2012

Martha Wilson

Performance artist Martha Wilson is Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., a museum she established in her TriBeCa storefront loft in lower Manhattan which, since its inception in 1976, has presented and preserved temporal art: artists’ books and other multiples produced internationally after 1960; temporary installations; and performance art. Franklin Furnace “went virtual” on its 20th anniversary, taking the Internet as its art medium and public venue to give artists the freedom of expression they had enjoyed in the loft in the 70s. Ms. Wilson lectures widely on the book as an art form, on performance art, and on “variable media art.”

Trained in English Literature, Ms. Wilson was teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design when she became fascinated by artworks created at the intersection of text and image. In New York, she founded DISBAND, the all-girl punk band of artists who couldn’t play any instruments. Since DISBAND disbanded in 1982, she has performed in the guises of Alexander Haig, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Tipper Gore. In the spring of 2008, she had her first solo exhibition in New York at Mitchell Algus Gallery, “Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-1974.” In 2009, “Martha Wilson: Staging the Self,” an exhibition of Ms. Wilson’s early photo/text work and one project from each of Franklin Furnace’s first 30 years, began international travel under the auspices of ICI (Independent Curators International); and in 2011, ICI published the Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces. Martha Wilson joined P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, and mounted a solo exhibition, “I have become my own worst fear,” in September, 2011


Facebook Comments

comments

2012-02-27T17:57:23+00:00 February 14th, 2012|Awards|