Created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, the Praemium Imperiale awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes.
A complete list of the 2011 Praemium Imperiale Laureates can be found after the break.
Praemium Imperiale Laureates
Architecture: Ricardo Legorreta, Mexico The first Mexican artist to receive the Praemium Imperiale, Ricardo Legorreta was born in 1931 and educated in Mexico City. Arguably Mexico’s most significant living architect, he combines the traditions of Western modernism with the building culture of his native country, vibrantly colored geometric shapes, fountains, light-filled spaces and intimate courtyards are the hallmarks of Legorreta’s style. In a career spanning more than 50 years he has created a diverse portfolio of more than 100 projects in Mexico and abroad including the Montalban House in Los Angeles (1985), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey (1991), the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua (1993), Pershing Square in Los Angeles (1993), Carnegie Mellon College of Business & Computer Science in Qatar (2008) and Davidka Square in Jerusalem (2010). In 2000, he became the first Latin American to receive the prestigious American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Gold Medal. After a partnership with José Villagrán, he set up his own practice and now works with his youngest son, Victor.
Painting: Bill Viola, USA Sculpture: Anish Kapoor, UK Music: Seiji Ozawa, Japan Theatre/Film: Judi Dench, UK
The Japan Art Association also named The Royal Court Young Writers Programme and Southbank Sinfonia as the co-recipients of its annual Grant for Young Artists award. Each of the London-based groups will receive an award of 2.5 million yen (approximately $30,000). The grant is presented to groups or institutions that encourage the involvement of young people in the arts.
The Praemium Imperiale awards ceremony will be held in Tokyo on October 19, where the Laureates will receive specially-designed gold medals and diplomas from His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association.
Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi joined Hisashi Hieda, chairman of the Japan Art Association, and British International Advisor Lord Patten of Barnes for the awards announcement in London, marking the first time their Imperial Highnesses have left Japan since the devastating tsunami in March. Following the announcement, Prince and Princess Hitachi and British Laureates Dame Judi Dench and Anish Kapoor were received by Queen Elizabeth II at a congratulatory reception in Buckingham Palace.
Candidates for the Praemium Imperiale awards are nominated by a distinguished panel of International Advisors and selected by the Japan Art Association. The American Advisor is William H. Luers, who currently serves as The George W. Ball Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and was formerly the President of the United Nations Association. He also previously served for 14 years as President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, following a 31-year career as an American ambassador and diplomat. This is Mr. Luers’ tenth year on the panel since succeeding David Rockefeller, Jr., who now serves as an Honorary Advisor.
“Over the past 23 years the Praemium Imperiale awards have grown to become a powerful symbol of the importance of the arts in the global community,” said Mr. Luers. “We are honored to recognize this year’s distinguished group of Laureates for their outstanding achievements and life-long pursuit of excellence.”
Other International Advisors include Lamberto Dini(Italy), François Pinault(France), Christopher Patten(UK), Klaus-Dieter Lehmann(Germany) and Yasuhiro Nakasone(Japan). In addition to David Rockefeller, Jr., other Honorary Advisors are Jacques Chirac, David Rockefeller, Helmut Schmidt, and Richard von Weizsäcker.
Last year, the Praemium Imperiale was awarded to Enrico Castellani (painting), Rebecca Horn (sculpture), Toyo Ito (architecture), Maurizio Pollini (music), and Sophia Loren (theatre/film). Previous Laureates have included: Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Arthur Miller, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ravi Shankar and Stephen Sondheim.
For more information on the Japan Art Association and the Praemium Imperiale, including biographies of current and past winners, click here.