The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has named conceptual artist, Charles Gaines as the winner of the 2023 Brendan Gill Prize for his public art project The American Manifest: Chapter 1.
The award will be presented at The View at The Battery on the evening of Tuesday, September 26. As part of the festivities, Gaines and members of the Brendan Gill Prize Jury will participate in an engaging conversation about the project, his process, and influences. Refreshments and light bites will be served.
“We are thrilled to honor Charles Gaines with the 2023 Brendan Gill Prize,” said MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein. “The jury was unanimous in finding The American Manifest: Chapter 1, in the heart of Times Square, the most innovative, moving, and essential cultural contribution to New York City in 2022. The raw power of the performance and sculptural art in confronting the ropes of racism in historical and modern America is profound and unrelenting.”
In 2022 Gaines launched his most ambitious public art project yet, The American Manifest, presented by Creative Time, Governors Island Arts, and Times Square Arts. Unfolding in three parts over the course of two years and across three sites, the work features both performance and large-scale sculptural works to tell the complicated story of the over 400-year settlement of the United States, focusing on the country’s foundations of colonialism, racial capitalism, democracy, and the legacy of Manifest Destiny. In spring 2024, the third chapter of ‘The American Manifest’ will be staged on the banks of the Ohio river.
A pivotal figure in the field of conceptual art, Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create a series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualism today.
The Brendan Gill Prize is given each year to honor the creator of a specific work—a book, essay, musical composition, play, painting, sculpture, architectural design, film, or choreographic piece—that best captures the spirit and energy of New York City. Past recipients include Ang Lee, Louis Malle, Sufjan Stevens, Kara Walker, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and John Wilson.
The prize was established in 1987 in honor of renowned New Yorker theater and architecture critic, social historian and former MAS President Brendan Gill by friend and fellow MAS trustee Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis along with board members Helen Tucker and Margot Wellington.
The Brendan Gill Jury, comprised of seven civic-minded professionals representing the arts and design community, selects the awardee through nominations submitted to MAS.
Brendan Gill Prize Jury
John Haworth, (Brendan Gill Prize Jury Chair), Senior Executive Emeritus, National Museum of the American Indian/NY, Smithsonian Institution
Randall Bourscheidt, Director, Archive of New York City Cultural Policy
Roz Chast, Cartoonist, The New Yorker
Patricia Cruz, Artistic Director and CEO, Harlem Stage
The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) lifts up the voices of the people in the debates that shape New York’s built environment and leads the way toward a more livable city from sidewalk to skyline. MAS envisions a future in which all New Yorkers share in the richness of city life–where growth is balanced, character endures, and a resilient future is secured.