The Art Awards annually selects a cohort of esteemed artists who agree to generously donate a work to be presented as an award to winning filmmakers. In doing so, we recognize the intersection between creative fields and celebrate New York City’s continued spirit of cultural innovation. When I was asked to curate the Art Awards for a second year, it was important that this iteration have a profound social impact: a powerful exhibition showcasing the strength, beauty, and diversity of women. Our focus this year is on giving women in the arts their flowers and celebrating their trailblazing contributions to contemporary art.
Throughout recorded history, from the cave painting to the camera, women have been driving forces in all forms of art around the world. Yet female creatives have been, and remain, woefully underrepresented. An analysis of 18 major American art museums found that a shocking 13% of the works are by women and 15% are by people of color. From second-wave feminism to the #MeToo movement, women have been forced to struggle for the most basic recognition, making it imperative that we continue to solicit and showcase the work of women artists.
Curator, 2023 Tribeca Festival Artist Awards Program
CHANEL is honored to continue its support of the annual Artist Awards Program, which celebrates the leading filmmakers and artists of our time, and the rich tradition of artists supporting artists.
Ana Benaroya’s (b. 1986, New York, NY) work centers substantial female subjects, whose extravagant musculatures upset more traditional expectations of femininity. Through her paintings and works on paper, Benaroya constructs a female gaze that recasts women in dominant roles, with an assertive, idiosyncratic presence. The muscles on Benaroya’s figures both distort and ornament her subject’s bodies, and speak to female desire and a queer sensibility. Striking, offbeat colors dominate the compositions, and the artist’s intense, slightly macabre palette balances their figurative vigor and allure.
In her practice, Benaroya pulls from diverse sources to assemble a unique pictorial language. She cites gallery artist Peter Saul as a major inspiration, and her work often makes reference to graphic styles familiar from superhero comics. Her current exhibition at the gallery centers on images of women in relation to water, and through references to sources both art historical and contemporary, Benaroya explores the dynamics of queer desire, in which bodies are on display for themselves and on their own terms. In compositions animated by complex networks of attraction, Benaroya makes visible forms of lesbian desire that are typically rendered latent or invisible. As she told Stephanie Eckardt in W Magazine, “‘I want depictions of female nudes that have desire and passion, but because the women are the sex objects—because they see that in each other [...] I feel like not many examples of that exist, from the perspective of someone like me.’”
Ana Benaroya earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Yale University in 2019. Benaroya’s work is part of numerous institutional collections, including The Hall Art Foundation (Reading, VT), the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection Bunker Art Space (West Palm Beach, FL), Alex Katz Foundation (New York, NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York, NY), Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami, FL), Bass Museum of Art (Miami Beach, FL), Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL), The High Museum (Atlanta, GA), and Zuzeum Art Center (Riga, Latvia).
Renee Cox (b. 1960, Colgate, Jamaica; lives in New York) makes photographs, collages, and installations that draw on art history, fashion photography and popular culture. Her work invokes a critical vision of female sexuality, beauty, power and heroism through nudity, religious imagery and symbolism that inform her interdisciplinary process. She is most noted for her larger than life photographs of female bodies. She reexaminations the black female figure in the context of structures of power. Inspired by critical epochs and artistic styles, her works are often reimaginations of art history, ranging from the Italian Renaissance such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, to Cubism (Picasso), Modernism (Édouard Manet) to traditional West African Art (Dogon, Mali, Cross River section of Nigeria). Cox utilizes a mélange of photographic styles in the vein of fashion photographer Richard Avedon, German portrait photographer August Sander, as well as summoning Harlem Renaissance photographic practices, inspired by James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks to the obscure ritualistic three-dimensional sculptural collages of Bettye Saar. Cox’s work is a celebration of the spectrum of the black female body. Her work challenges how women are seen respective to time, place and the intangible spaces between representation and reality.
Renee Cox received her BA from Syracuse University, (Syracuse, NY) and MFA from the School of Visual Arts, (New York, NY). She was a participant in the Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program, (New York, NY). Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent institutions to include Hannah Traore Gallery (New York, NY), Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC), Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts (Atlanta, GA), Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA), Tate Liverpool (Liverpool, UK), The New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, NY), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), and Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) to name a few. She received the Artists Fellowship Award, New York Foundations for the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, (Petersborough, NY) and the Aaron Matalon Award, The National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston, Jamaica) among others. She is an associate professor at Columbia University and has lectured at Yale College of Art (New Haven, CT), New York University (New York, NY) and Parsons School of Design (New York, NY) to name a few. She lives and works in Manhattan and Amagansett with her husband,and their dog, Dogon.
Patricia Encarnación (she/they) is an Afro-Dominican interdisciplinary artitvist and scholar. Her work explores Caribbean culture by challenging tropical aesthetics with an anti-colonial lens. Encarnación participated in multiple residencies such as Smack Mellon as a Van Lier fellow, MuseumsQuartier Vienna, Kovent Catalonia, and Silver Arts Project residency at the World Trade Center. Her work has been selected twice in The Centro Leon Jiménez Biennial, obtaining the prize bestowed by the city of Cádiz (Spain) for cultural immersion and a fellowship in Martinique as part of a Tropiques Atrium Caribbean art program. She has exhibited in places such as Documenta 15th, Afro Syncretic at NYU, I am New Afro Latinx at MOLAA, CA, and Anthem X at Malin Gallery during Miami art week. Besides being an actively exhibiting artist, Encarnación has also delved into curatorial practices in spaces such as ChaShama and alternative gallery spaces in NYC and Miami, and the Dominican Republic.
From the outset of a four decade career, Beverly Fishman has centered her work around the body, probing abstract investigations of disease, identity, and medicine.
Her current series focuses on the concept of polypharmacy—the prescription of multiple medicines to one individual. Compiled forms correspond to specific pills as Fishman expertly illustrates the measured precision of an individual’s unique prescription. The work provokes an interrogation surrounding Big Pharma and the promises of pharmaceuticals as the means for a cure.
Beverly Fishman (b. 1955, Philadelphia, PA) received her Master of Fine Arts in 1980 from Yale University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1977. In 2020, Fishman was inducted as a National Academician of the National Academy of Design. She is the recipient of the Anonymous Was A Woman Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Purchase Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts; and a Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sheree Hovsepian (American b.Iran) earned an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002.
Her work highlights the physicality of the photograph and photography’s relationship to the human body. Coaxed into sculptural forms, layered with tactile materials, and assembled into larger compositions, Hovsepian’s pictures oscillate between object and image, creating a sensuous, bodily experience of the photographic document.
Hovsepian was included in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, with a room dedicated to her work.
Recent solo exhibitions include exhibitions at Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York and Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton, NY; Recent group exhibitions include Affinities for Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950-2020, Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY; There’s There There, Hauser & Wirth, Southampton, NY; Arches and Ink, Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York; Material Gestures, Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago; and Where Do We Stand?, The Drawing Center, New York.
Hovsepian is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bronx Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Everson Museum of Art, among others. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Lisa Lebofsky is a nomadic plein air painter. She paints the restlessness of nature, correlating it with human vulnerabilities. Her direct participation with the landscape is vital to imbue a painting with the energy of a place. Lebofsky visits regions susceptible to climate change – including include Antarctica, Newfoundland and Labrador, Greenland, and The Maldives ¬– and meets with local residents to discuss how their community is impacted.
Lisa Lebofsky has her MFA in painting from New York Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited in museums and universities such as Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; New Bedford Whaling Museum, MA; Shelburne Museum, VT; Lehman College, NY; Pima Air and Space Museum, AZ; El Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico. She is the recipient of residencies including: Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland; Saltonstall, Ithaca, NY; Tilting Air, Fogo Island, Newfoundland; Jentel, WY; Shenandoah National Park, VA.
Natia Lemay (b. 1985 in Toronto, Ontario) is an Afro-indigenous artist of Black, Mi'kmaw, and Settler descent, raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Natia received her BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design (2021) in drawing/painting with a minor in social sciences and is a current MFA Candidate at The Yale School of Art in painting/printmaking. Natia's Work is interdisciplinary to address the expansiveness of conditions under which IBPOC people live. Drawing on childhood experiences, she explores semiotic, philosophical, and socio-psychological themes of identity, hypervisibility, orientation, and consciousness to untangle how the body and mind interact with space and shift through time. Through careful worldbuilding and storytelling, she aims to create a visual vocabulary that makes the invisible visible, articulates the indescribable, and creates space for reflection without prejudice.
Christie Neptune lives between Brooklyn, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Fordham University and is currently a masters candidate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology program in Art, Culture, and Technology. Neptune's work has been exhibited at venues including: Gagosian, New York; We Buy Gold, New York; Martos Gallery, New York; and the Bronx Museum of the Arts among others. Her work is in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts. In 2021, she was awarded the Prix Medeos for the presentation of her work at Art-o-rama, Marseille, France. Neptune’s work has been widely discussed in publications such as 4 Columns, Artforum, Hyperallergic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Her numerous awards and residencies include Cornell University’s \Art Award, Light Work Artist-in-Residence, NYFA Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Arts, and Smack Mellon Studio Residency among others.
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work pulls from 17th and 18th-century European portraiture, comic books, sketch comedy, folkloric dance, and installation to address race, bias, trauma, and healing. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues such as The Momentary, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum of Arts and Design, Garage Museum Moscow, Orlando Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Gyeongnam Art Museum, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; and at the Manifesta biennial, and the Performa biennial. Numerous media outlets, including Art in America ArtNews, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post have covered her work. She earned her MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Art and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She currently serves as a board member for the College Art Association where she’s committed to addressing invisible workloads on faculty of color.
Shinique Smith’s multifaceted practice includes painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, and performance. Exploring ideas of transformation and ritual, through materials such as fabric, clothing, and collage, breath, bundling and calligraphic brushwork, Smith has built a complex visual language that resonates on intimate and social scales. Her totemic works bear the presence of her body and serve as containers that operate at the convergence of consumption, displacement, and spiritual sanctuary. Smith’s work has been featured in over twenty solo exhibitions and is represented in the collections of many prestigious institutions including Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim, Denver Art Museum, LACMA, Minneapolis Art Institute, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Baltimore Museum of Art, Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem. Smith has also been honored with awards from Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Anonymous Was a Woman and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Chanel is a private company and a world leader in creating, developing, manufacturing and distributing luxury products. Founded by Gabrielle Chanel at the beginning of the last century, Chanel offers a broad range of high-end creations, including Ready-to-Wear, Leather Goods, Fashion Accessories, Eyewear, Fragrances, Makeup, Skincare, Jewelry and Watches. Chanel is also renowned for its Haute Couture collections, presented twice yearly in Paris, and for having acquired a large number of specialized suppliers, collectively known as the Métiers d’Art. Chanel is dedicated to ultimate luxury and to the highest level of craftsmanship. It is a brand whose core values remain historically grounded on exceptional creation. As such, Chanel promotes culture, art, creativity and “savoir-faire” throughout the world, and invests significantly in people, R&D, sustainable development and innovation. At the end of 2022, Chanel employed more than 32,000 people worldwide.