The New Museum has announced Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, UK) as the inaugural recipient of the Hostetler/Wrigley Sculpture Award, a biennial award supporting the production of new sculpture by women artists. Made possible by the Hostetler/Wrigley Foundation, the $400,000 grant supports the artist’s honorarium, production, installation, administration, and exhibition of new work on the New Museum’s forthcoming public plaza on the Bowery—a new public space created as part of the Museum’s expansion designed by OMA / Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas.
Lucas was selected by an all-artist jury comprised of Teresita Fernández, Joan Jonas, Julie Mehretu, Cindy Sherman, and Kiki Smith, and is the first of five recipients over ten years to be selected by a rotating jury. Her commission will open in tandem with the expanded New Museum.
The jury stated, “We selected Sarah Lucas’s proposal for its exuberance, vitality, and irreverence. Colorful, humorous, and radically joyful, Lucas’s proposal imagines an unconventional monument—an ‘unmonumental’ monument—celebrating women claiming space in public life. The title Venus Victoria is just a perfect omen.”
Sue Hostetler Wrigley, Co-Founder of the Hosteler/Wrigley Foundation, added, “There is a gender gap in large-scale sculpture commissions, and in general institutions have been reticent to support ambitious projects by women artists. Our hope is that this new commission selected by an all-woman jury will pave the way for even more opportunities for women artists, and we are thrilled for the work to be presented on the new public plaza for all to see and enjoy.”
Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director of the New Museum, said, “We are enormously pleased that our remarkable jury made an outstanding choice in selecting Sarah Lucas to launch this sculpture commission and inaugurate our new public plaza.”
Sarah Lucas’s selection as the first recipient of the Hostetler/Wrigley Sculpture Award follows her New Museum solo exhibition “Au Naturel” (2018), which travelled to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2019). Recognized as one of Britain’s most significant contemporary artists, Lucas’s work spanning sculpture, photography, and installation has consistently been characterised by irreverent humour and the use of everyday ‘readymade’ objects—furniture, food, tabloid newspapers, tights, toilets, cigarettes—to conjure up corporeal fragments. The body, in its many guises, is Lucas’s prevailing subject.
She has exhibited internationally since coming to prominence in the 1990s with solo shows “Penis Nailed to a Board,” City Racing, London (1992) and “The Whole Joke,” Kingly Street, London (1992), followed by presentations at MoMA, New York (1993); Museum Boymans van Beunigen, Rotterdam (1996); Freud Museum, London (2000); and “In-A-Gadda- Da-Vida” (with Angus Fairhurst and Damien Hirst) at Tate Britain, London (2004). In 2005, a touring retrospective took place at Kunsthalle Zürich, Kunstverein Hamburg, and Tate Liverpool. In addition to “Au Naturel” at the New Museum, major solo exhibitions in the last decade have included “Project 1: Sarah Lucas,” National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2021); Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2019); “Sarah Lucas: Good Muse,” Legion of Honor, San Francisco (2017); “POWER IN WOMAN,” Sir John Soane’s Museum, London (2016), travelling to Humber Street Gallery, Hull (2017); and “I SCREAM DADDIO,” British Pavilion, 56th Venice International Art Biennale, Venice (2015). In addition, Lucas has also organised a number of group exhibitions, including “BIG WOMEN,” on view now featuring the work of more than 20 women artists at Firstsite, Colchester (2023). In fall 2023, Tate Britain will host a major career- spanning exhibition devoted to Sarah Lucas.
The launch of the Hostetler/Wrigley Sculpture Award continues the New Museum’s longstanding commitment to gender equity across its exhibitions, public programs, and leadership. Founded in 1977 by Marcia Tucker, the New Museum has been led by women directors throughout its 45-year history and championed women artists through commissions, residencies, and milestone exhibitions, recently including monographic presentations of Lynda Benglis, Nicole Eisenman, Lubaina Himid, Kapwani Kiwanga, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Simone.