Mattresses and Cakes, 1993. Mattresses, cakes, rebar, black tie-wire cable, approx 23 x 18 x 18 ft. Installation at the Arsenale, Venice, Italy. Image courtesy of the artist.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIAThe Artists’ Legacy Foundation today announced that Nancy Rubins (b. 1952)—celebrated for her innovative sculptural practice—is the recipient of its 2021 Artist Award. The unrestricted merit award of $25,000 is given to a visual artist whose primary medium is painting or sculpture in recognition of their professional achievements. Each year, ten artists are proposed for the Award by five anonymous nominators. Like the nominators, the jury of three comprises art-world peers who make the final decision.

Squeak Carnwath, the Foundation’s board president, said, “Nancy Rubins is one amazing artist. Her work is exuberant, dynamic, and gravity defying. The sculptures occupy a place of twin feelings of excitement and fear. They look like a feral King Kong put them together in a tornado. The work is ambitious and confident. Rubins is a courageous risk-taker and is as fierce as her sculptures are bold. The jurors did a marvelous job, and we sincerely appreciate their service, acumen, and enthusiasm.”

This year’s jurors were: Mary Ceruti, Executive Director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN; Julia Couzens, artist and writer; and Craig Nagasawa, artist and Senior Continuing Lecturer for Painting and Drawing, University of California, Berkeley. They described Rubins’ practice as expansive, inspiring wonder, and genre-bending and Rubins herself as a ‘ferocious artist.’ Ceruti noted, “Nancy Rubins brings an expansive and experimental approach to monumental sculptures that inspire wonder while also being genuinely grounded in our lived experience and material world.”

Rubins said, “I am delighted to have received the 2021 Artist Award from Artists’ Legacy Foundation. Following my years of material exploration, it is an honor to have my work recognized by my peers in the art world. This acknowledgment is truly welcome, especially at this moment when it has been harder to see art in real life.”

The Foundation will host a virtual public program via Zoom on October 22, 2021, at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET, featuring a conversation between the artist and Tyler Green, historian, critic, author, and producer and host of The Modern Art Notes Podcast.