PETERBOROUGH — California-based conceptual artist Charles Gaines will be honored with the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal at a free, public event Sunday.
The annual Medal Day is the only day that studios at the Peterborough artists colony are open to the public.
Gaines is renowned for works across disciplines and media, including drawings, photographs and musical compositions, according to his biography on the website of the California Institute of the Arts, where he’s on the faculty.
In addition to being collected internationally, his artwork is at prominent museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem, all in Manhattan; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, according to CalArts. His musical compositions have been performed at the 2017 Melbourne Festival in Australia and the 56th Venice Biennale in Italy, among other places, his faculty biography states.
“Charles Gaines is many things: an influential teacher, a provocative and powerful writer and curator, a talented drummer, and, of course, a highly renowned and celebrated visual artist,” Ann Philbin, chairwoman of the medalist selection panel and director of the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a news release this spring from the MacDowell Colony.
“... Charles has been a leading figure in the conceptual art movement on the West Coast for more than 40 years,” Philbin said. “His influence as an artist is exponentially enhanced by his legacy as an educator, helping generations of students find their artistic voices since the 1970s.”
The MacDowell Medal is awarded each year to an artist for making “an outstanding contribution to American culture,” according to the release. Previous recipients include cartoonist Art Spiegelman, filmmaker David Lynch, novelist Toni Morrison (who died earlier this week), composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, artist Georgia O’Keeffe, poet Robert Frost and composer Aaron Copland.
“When I received the phone call telling me I was selected, I really couldn’t believe it,” Gaines said in the news release. “I think I still don’t. I am familiar with MacDowell and its amazing list of Medal recipients and because of this, I feared that my imagination would be unable to handle the magnitude of such a recognition. … Being chosen by the selection panel is particularly poignant for me because they are all people I deeply respect and admire.”
Sunday’s ceremony starts at 12:15 p.m. at the colony at 100 High St. in Peterborough. Studios will be open from 2 to 5 p.m.
The MacDowell Colony was founded in 1907 by composer Edward MacDowell and his wife, pianist Marian MacDowell. Situated on 450 acres, the colony hosts more than 300 artists per year, who are accepted solely on talent and attend for free.