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The MacArthur Fellowship is a great creative honor that allows artists to continue to explore and expand their work. The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years, and there are no strings attached. A recent previous recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship is author and artist Alison Bechdel, who created Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For.
Now queer artist Nicole Eisenman is part of that club. Eisenman's work has steadfastly remained figurative through art markets that did not necessarily support figurative work. Her art addresses politics with art and art with politics, always keeping the human figure an integral element.
In a New York Times interview, Roberta Smith asked Eisenman about the phone call that day informing her of the fellowship: "They don’t tell you that maybe you should sit down?" Eisenman replied, "No, but they should have. It was a really weak-in-the-knees moment for me. The woman had to repeat it several times and finally she just said, “You’re on speaker phone; the whole committee is here and they’re all saying congratulations.”
Thanks to the folks at Anton Kern Gallery for allowing us to share these images of Eisenman's work.
At left: "Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993-2011," the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, 2015
Photo: Pablo Mason