Leslie Wayne, NA: Studio Visit With Barbara Takenaga, NA

Barbara Takanaga, Shadow Love, 2018, acrylic on linen, 54 x 45 inches

Barbara Takanaga, Shadow Love, 2018, acrylic on linen, 54 x 45 inches

Contributed by Leslie Wayne, NA / Barbara Takenaga, NA has been pitting her skill at painting pattern against the physical constraints of materials for years, and her skill has usually won out. For a long time, bodies of work based on the Mandala were her signature motif. She meticulously painted carefully plotted circular patterns with the devotion of a Buddhist monk. Then she abruptly shifted, not only in her approach to process but in size and scale. What has happened in the last three shows since she started exhibiting with DC Moore Gallery is a deliberate privileging of chance. This has not in any way diminished her labor-intensive process. In fact, labor in a way has taken on a greater role, though in such a sly and sophisticated manner that you would never know that, for example, she painted what you think is the background last instead of first. Does it matter that one is painted over the other? Not in terms of the work’s conceptual underpinnings. Only to Barbara, whose love of the labor itself is close to sacrosanct.

Barbara Takenaga, Black Shape on Red, 2018, acrylic on linen

Barbara Takenaga, Black Shape on Red, 2018, acrylic on linen

If you were to ask her what the overall conceptual framework was behind her painting, she would defer to process. She in fact calls herself a process painter, someone dealing improvisationally with order and chance. But based on this very commanding new body of work, I would suggest that powerful and durable emotional and intellectual forces, however subliminal, also play a role in her art making. These influences include her personal history and of the current state of national affairs. One doesn’t need to be truly old, which in today’s terms can verge on 100, to feel the weight of mortality and the pressures of time. One also need not be a bleeding-heart liberal to feel the intense anxieties of this political moment. Both these factors have converged on Takenaga, and the results are unexpected and arresting.

Barbara Takenaga, Cloud River, 2018, acrylic on linen, 45 x 54 inches

Barbara Takenaga, Cloud River, 2018, acrylic on linen, 45 x 54 inches

My recent visit to her studio gave us a chance to talk about these issues in anticipation of her upcoming solo show, “Outset,” her fourth at DC Moore.

Leslie Wayne: Barbara, I see how you’ve been slowly moving away from a centralized pattern over the years as the dominant characteristic of your paintings. And that’s true here too. But there are a couple of other things going on in this new body of work that are stunning. For one, your palette is much more restricted. For another, you’ve introduced in some of these paintings some singular and rather mysterious forms. What’s going on here?

Barbara Takenaga: Oh, yes, the palette is mainly black, white, gray and blue.  In fact, the first working title was “Blue and Black.”  I had been looking at a lot of books on Japanese and Indian painting and was enticed by the wonderful flat black shapes – a draped robe, elaborate hair styles, a winding river, the backs of elephants submerged in water.  The shapes became silhouettes, separated from their context, abstracted to a place where they open up to other associations. A black figure turned on its side becomes a menacing cloud or an island or a big weird fish.  And a lot of times the positive/negative spaces slide around because they’re less tied to a narrative.  Is it cloud, land, constellation or does the foreground flip to a river, net or monster? I like that in between-ness.  And I like that you called them “mysterious” because it enhances that aspect.  What is that thing?  For instance, the silhouette in the painting, Shadow Lovecame from a bit of peeling paint above the trash cans in my apartment building.  I would walk past it every day and I fell in love with that image.  It’s the absence of paint and a character.  And a random encounter.

I didn’t really answer your question about the palette, did I? I want the work to be elegant, a little disturbing, a little funny, and have some weight.  It didn’t initially occur to me that the palette was limited, but I think your thoughts about mortality and our particularly infuriating times in 2018 are in there.  I’ve always felt that the invisible core of my art making is a struggle with change, which is essentially death, successive little ones and big ones.  Between control and the passing of time.  A futile attempt to hold on and let go simultaneously. Stuff we all know.  I think about it a lot even though it’s not that apparent in the work. Wow, we really jumped into it all – in the first question even.

Barbara Takenaga, Rust Never Sleeps, 2018, acrylic on linen, 60 x 60 inches

Barbara Takenaga, Rust Never Sleeps, 2018, acrylic on linen, 60 x 60 inches

LW: Yes we did! So let’s backtrack a little. Your palette includes one other very prominent characteristic, which you didn’t mention – the use of interference colors. It’s very hard to incorporate those without taking on a kitschy quality, but to your credit, you’ve managed to use them in a way that mimics, or at least references the use of gold and silver in traditional Japanese art, particularly scrolls and screens. Were you aiming for that?

BT: Not in a conscious way, but I like that you pointed that out.  It’s definitely there.  I initially started using gold leaf in my small paintings in 2001 after a trip to Venice. That, plus an interest in how the Egyptians thought of gold, wanting to take it into the afterlife because it never changes, never corrodes.  The vampire of metals. That desire to hold still in time.  But gold leaf was tricky to paint on so I switched to acrylic iridescent paint.  Not nearly as visually seductive – gold leaf wants to sit up on the top surface and flaunt itself – but definitely more of our time.  And cheaper.  And a little goofier because of that kitschy aspect, it’s basically plastic.  I eventually moved on to other iridescent and interference colors because I liked the way the image would shift, according to the viewer’s position or because of changes in light from different times of day. The image moves around a bit, a little quiet animation, but stays the same.

Barbara Takenaga, The Edge, 2018, acrylic on linen, 54 x 45 inches

Barbara Takenaga, The Edge, 2018, acrylic on linen, 54 x 45 inches

LW: So the reference is there but not consciously. That’s interesting, and maybe I’m reading more into it than is really there, but I find that we become more ourselves, in spite of ourselves as we mature as artists, and that our intentions become increasingly subsumed by our personal history. So I’m returning to that, because I think this work, more than anything I’ve seen of yours in the past – and your recent career survey at the Williams College Museum of Art still looms large in my memory – feels unadulterated by convention. I’m reminded by the great Ann Magnuson, the performance doyenne of the 80s East Village scene, who I saw at a talk about a year ago. Describing her life and career, she said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that for years she climbed and climbed the hills and mountains of middle age and when she finally got to the top and looked over the summit what she saw was the valley of fuck it! And that’s what I’m seeing in this new work. A bit of fuck it. So I’m not sure which is at work here. Have you deliberately given yourself permission to just be yourself?  Or is your cultural and aesthetic affinity with Japan making its way into your iconography unbidden?

BT:  The valley of fuck it!  Perfect. I’d like to descend into that valley. And build a little house there. Right now, I think I’m still climbing to the summit.  Ha.

This is a great question because there are so many parts to the answer. The thing about the “mountains of middle age” – I have so many artists friends, particularly women, who have deep, long years of making art, we keep at it.  I love that.  I think one of the rewards of being an artist for a long time is that the work becomes more and more “you”, whether you push it there or not.  There’s more confidence in the work because it’s an old friend and you trust it.  There’s more fuck it now, at least for me, because I can’t do much about it, the work is what it is after all this time.  I show up, I work hard, the work shows up.  It’s a kind of giving up in little positive ways.  I give up trying to control things, I give up trying to be smart, I give up regretting.  Because of course, time is flying.  I don’t put away the Christmas ornament on my door because every time I turn around, it’s December again. The end time looms larger.  Not much time to not be oneself, to use a double negative. I guess this is stuff we all already know, just saying it again.

The other answer is that I started out as a printmaker and that has informed my work a lot.  My paintings aren’t painterly so when you talk of “not conventional,” maybe that’s part of it.  They’re flat and somewhat graphic and rely on a lot of processes like tracing, transferring, outlining, pooling paint, etc.

Which leads into the last part of your question. I never felt an affinity to Western art history.  It never moved me like it did for other artists.  But I’ve always had an interest in Eastern art and pattern. Was that a longing for a culture that was mine but not really mine, having been born and raised in Nebraska?  Is it something else?  (Sheila Pepe curated a show at the Bemis Center that dealt with some of these questions.)  So from way back, I always loved Japanese prints, tantric mandalas and miniatures from India, textile designs, those wild Samurai helmets, etc.  As a young artist, my favorite book and resource was Yoga Art by Ajit Mookerjee – which I paid for, five dolllars at a time on a layaway plan at the bookstore.  I think those influences, as well as my personal history, were always in the early work but submerged.  I didn’t want things to get too treacly or sentimental.  References to my grandmother were coded into mountain shapes (she was born near Mt. Fuji), images of a crow and a key were funny, private stand-ins for my mother’s maiden name Kuroki.  I used soba noodles as stencils versus Italian pasta, silhouettes of the structured robes of warlords, etc.  Lots of hiding and coding.  The whole series of dot mandalas from 2001-2009 were about my mother, sliding away into space. So the personal and Asian thing has always been there, but maybe it is more obvious now.  Maybe I’m growing into myself.  Ha. In this upcoming show at DC Moore, I laughingly thought of titling it “I think I’m Turning Japanese” from that old Vapors song.  Because I never saw myself as being defined that way. I told a friend that I was really surprised to find that my new paintings were getting very Asian-y.  She said, no, I hate to break it to you but your works have always been Asian-y.

LW: Okay, so fuck it, you’re an Asian artist! In a moment where the prevailing discourse is all about identity politics, that doesn’t seem like such a bad place to be. Particularly with the current immigration crisis mirroring the stain of WWII Japanese internment camps, honoring your Japanese identity feels like a statement of activist pride. But am I pushing this aspect of your work a little too hard here? Even though you say you’ve never felt an affinity with Western art, perhaps you mean Western as in Renaissance. But I do think you are an artist who is participating in the ongoing conversation about contemporary painting and the crossover of disciplines – in this case between painting and printmaking, and the complicated trajectory of postmodernism, including Minimalism and the Pattern and Decoration movement. Does that seem fair?

BT:  Yes, I do see myself more as a process painter, an abstract painter, a quasi-formalist, a female painter – more than in terms of noticeable identity politics. My personal history is definitely there but coded and submerged under other, more visible concerns – which is how I want it to be.  I feel fairly accepting and earnest in my choices.  Instead, I worry about entropy, I like visual ambiguity, I make an effort to be nonverbal and not think when it comes to making art – I’d like to be a better “grokker,” something I’ve chased since grad school.  (Heinlein, sci-fi, visual empathy…all good.)

And I used to have a much clearer take on that trajectory of postmodernism in the last part of your question. I gave lectures on it when I taught – horrors.  And of course, I love P&D, a movement that was a game changer. But while many artists are very conscious of the weight of the history of painting behind them and its influence on their work, that history is very quiet in my art thinking. It takes naps. My practice is fairly simple: I go to the studio and wait for something to happen, then I get to work.  Working gives me great pleasure, it’s the payoff. Which if probably true for most of us, right?

To be honest, the older I get, the more I feel that I know nothing. Me and Jon Snow. I know, it’s such a cliché.  But it’s good, it’s a good place. I’m okay with that for the moment.

Barbara Takenaga: Outset,” DC Moore Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY. September 6 through October 6, 2018.

About the author: New York artist Leslie Wayne is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. Wayne is an occasional writer and curator, and has received numerous grants and awards for her painting objects, including a 2017 John Simon Guggenhheim Foundation Fellowship and a 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts painting grant.

Congrats to Martin Puryear, NA for being chosen to represent the US at the 2019 Venice Biennale!

Martin Puryear,  Big Bling  (2016). Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park.

Martin Puryear, Big Bling (2016). Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park.

Martin Puryear, who is known for his large-scale wood sculptures, has been named the US representative to the 58th Venice Biennale, opening next spring. Brooke Kamin Rapaport, the deputy director and senior curator of New York’s Madison Square Park Conservancy, will curate the pavilion.

“Martin Puryear confronts contemporary issues as a maker of objects in the studio,” said Rapaport in a statement. “For more than five decades, Puryear has created a body of work distinguished by a complex visual vocabulary and deeply-considered meaning.”

News of Puryear’s selection by the US State Department’s Cultural Programs Division, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, was rumored over the weekend in a Tweet by New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, and was confirmed by officials this morning. University of Chicago art history professor Darby English has been tapped as the pavilion’s exhibition scholar, while Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects are the exhibition designers.

Puryear, who is 77, will create a new site-specific work, including an outdoor installation and sculptures that will be displayed in the pavilion’s galleries. The exhibition will also include outreach to under-served youth, overseen by New York’s Studio in a School and the Istituto Santa Maria Della Pietà in Venice, according to the New York Times. The biennale’s main exhibition, curated by Ralph Rugoff, is titled “May You Live in Interesting Times,” and is inspired in part by the phenomenon of fake news.

This is the first time that an institution for public art has been selected to organize the US pavilion in Venice. In 2016, the park hosted Puryear’s sculpture Big Bling, a 40-foot-tall curved tower of chainlink fencing and plywood, topped with a shackle gilded in 22-karat gold leaf.

Martin Puryear,  Plenty’s Boast  (1995). Photo courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri/McKee Gallery, New York.

Martin Puryear, Plenty’s Boast (1995). Photo courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri/McKee Gallery, New York.

“This enormous wooden construction was conceived by me as a kind of visual praise poem, an ode, to New York City,” Puryear said in a statement at the time. “It was my way of saying: I see you New York. I see how you grow and compartmentalize and stratify. I see how you beckon and promise (and also how you exclude). And crowning it all like a beacon, I see your wealth, your gilded shackle, the golden ring (the bling), the prize, our pride, maybe even our success.”

The Venice announcement comes just a few months shy of the 30th anniversary of Puryear’s selection to represent the US in the 1988 Sao Paulo Biennale, at the time dubbed “the most prestigious international art exhibition after the one in Venice” by the New York Times. It was the first time a black artist had been the sole representative of the US at a prominent biennial.

Martin Puryear,  Desire  (1981). Collection of Panza di Buono, Varese, Italy. Photo courtesy of McKee Gallery, New York.

Martin Puryear, Desire (1981). Collection of Panza di Buono, Varese, Italy. Photo courtesy of McKee Gallery, New York.

Puryear is the second African American artist in a row to represent the US in Venice, following Mark Bradford in 2017, whose critically acclaimedexhibition “Tomorrow is Another Day” was organized by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The news of Puryear’s participation comes several months later than Bradford’s did in 2017, in August rather than April, and there is not yet a page for the 2019 Venice Art Biennale on the State Department website. (It instead redirects to the Venice Architectural Biennale site, which saw similar delays in the announcement for the 2018 US pavilion, on view through November.) 

Martin Puryear,  Ladder for Booker T. Washington  (1996). Installation view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by David Woo, ©David Woo.

Martin Puryear, Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996). Installation view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by David Woo, ©David Woo.

Although President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his desire to cut cultural agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, funding for international exhibitions like the Venice Biennale comes from the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961. The purpose of the act is to “enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

The US government grant is $375,000, which includes $125,000 earmarked for staffing the pavilion during the exhibition’s run, though that total must usually be supplemented by outside funding. Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection oversees operations of the pavilion, built in 1930 and owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since 1986.

The US pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images.

The US pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images.

Puryear was the subject of a retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2007-08, which later traveled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. A travelling 2015 survey, “Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions,” was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. The artist appeared in the Whitney Biennial in 1979, 1981, and 1989.

The winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982 and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1989, Puryear was awarded the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal by former President Barack Obama in 2011.

The 58th Venice Biennale will take place May 11–November 24, 2019.

Alfred Leslie, NA Receives Lee Krasner Award 2018

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc. was established in 1985 for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to individual working visual artists of established ability through the generosity of the late Lee Krasner, one of the leading Abstract Expressionist painters and the widow of Jackson Pollock.

“The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s mission is to aid, internationally, those individuals who have worked as artists over a significant period of time. The Foundation’s dual criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and financial need, whether professional, personal or both,” says the release of Bruce Silverstein gallery. The Lee Krasner Award is a tribute to and recognition of artists with long and distinguished careers.

Alfred Leslie’s, NA  most recent body of work, known as the “Pixel Scores” will be hosted at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Texas, opening in September 2018.

Painter and filmmaker Alfred Leslie, NA was born in the Bronx, New York in 1927 and currently lives and works in Manhattan. In the late 1940s, he emerged as an experimental filmmaker and a second generation Abstract Expressionist painter. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was associated with a community of avant-garde artists and writers, including Joan Mitchell, Larry Rivers, Robert Frank, Frank O’Hara, and Jack Kerouac, with whom he often collaborated. The quintessential Beat Generation film “Pull My Daisy” (1959) was codirected by Leslie and photographer Robert Frank, with subtitles and narration by Jack Kerouac. “In the early 1960s, Leslie’s style evolved from pure abstraction to figurative realism, distilling his background in film to be fully realized through painting. Over the last 15 years, he has taken these interests one step further, incorporating them with new digital technology to create paintings on the computer, which he has named Pixel Scores,” writes Bruce Silverstein gallery.

His notable works include “100 Views Along the Road” which is a series of elegant black-and-white watercolors of American scenes that Alfred Leslie, NA made between 1981 and 1983. “They were all painted in Leslie’s studio from drawings he had made, mostly in his car,” the gallery says.

His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, washington, D,C., Washington University in St. Louis, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Shigeru Ban, NA builds temporary shelters from paper for Japan flooding victims


Pritzker Prize-winner Shigeru Ban, NA has joined the disaster relief effort in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, personally setting up his Paper Partition System for evacuees.

The Japanese architect joined the team from the Voluntary Architects' Network (VAN) to construct a set of paper and fabric dividers inside school gymnasiums where survivors of the torrential rain are taking refuge.

The Voluntary Architects' Network erected shelters at the Second Fukuda Elementary School in Kurashiki

The Voluntary Architects' Network erected shelters at the Second Fukuda Elementary School in Kurashiki

Together with volunteers, Ban erected a modular system of partitions using recycled paper tubes, cardboard panels and fabric to create areas that can be curtained off for privacy. The materials can all be recycled again once they are no longer required.

"It is our mission as professional architects to make living environments better," Ban, who founded non-profit VAN, told local paper The Asahi Shimbun.

"We are just doing our job."

Ban's team also erected temporary privacy screens at the Hoita Elementary School

Ban's team also erected temporary privacy screens at the Hoita Elementary School

Schools across the Mabicho district have been turned into a refuge for evacuees affected by the torrential rain that swept western Japan.

Up to 30 per cent of the district was submerged under the floodwater, which claimed at least 50 lives. Over 155 people died across the region, making this the deadliest floods the country has experienced in 30 years.

VAN also installed the Paper Partition System to temporarily house nursing home residents whose centre was flooded, adapting each unit to fit wheelchairs and elderly care beds.

Specially adapted paper partitions were created at the Silver Centre Koraku

Specially adapted paper partitions were created at the Silver Centre Koraku

In 2016 Ban travelled to Ecuador to assist the rebuilding effort following a deadly earthquake, offering architectural training in the affected area. The year before he designed modular shelters for those made homeless in the wake of two devastating earthquakes in Nepal using wood, rubble and straw.

He was awarded the Pritzker Prize, one of architecture's highest honours, in 2014 in recognition of his work using low cost materials for disaster relief architecture.

After an earthquake destroyed a cathedral in Christchurch Ban built a temporary place of worship from cardboard and panels of stained glass in 2013. Seven years ago in Japan he created temporary homes in shipping containers for those displaced by an earthquake and tsunami.

Images courtesy of Voluntary Architects' Network.

WEISS/MANFREDI, NA Celebrates Completion of Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park

Photo: Albert Vecerka/Esto

Photo: Albert Vecerka/Esto

Today a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the formal opening of Phase II of Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park. A place of discovery, resilience, and extraordinary drama with its Manhattan skyline backdrop, Hunter's Point presents a new model for waterfront parks. Phase II completes the vision established in the first phase of the park, which opened in 2013. The park's extension introduces an acre of wetlands that recall the site’s pre-industrial history, and features meandering pedestrian pathways that bring the community to the waterfront. The walkways unfurl into a promenade leading to a 30-foot-high cantilevered Overlook, which offers unrivaled views of the East River and shelters the paths and wetland waterfront below.
The park incorporates spaces for active and passive recreation, leveraging the site’s industrial heritage to create a new resilient waterfront destination. A new island, kayak launch, promontory green, exercise terraces, and shoreline walkways extend the community’s  experience of the East River. New shoreline plantings and wetlands enhance water quality and promote wildlife and fish habitation, while protecting the community from shoreline bank erosion and rising sea levels.
The design of the park and open space is a collaboration between SWA/Balsley and WEISS/MANFREDI, with Arup as the prime consultant and infrastructure designer. The project was recently featured in The New York Times. For more information, visit WEISS/MANFREDI's website.

2018 AIA Gold Medal awarded to James Stewart Polshek, NA

The New York-based architect, James Stewart Polshek, NA is being recognized for his career-long focus on design, collaboration, and research.

James Stewart Polshek was elected as a National Academician ANA: 1983; NA: 1994

Aislinn Weidele

Aislinn Weidele

James Stewart Polshek, NA, FAIA, has been awarded the 2018 AIA Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor for an individual or pair of collaborators whose work has had a lasting influence on the state of architecture. Earlier today, the American Institute of Architects board of directors voted to honor Polshek for his visionary leadership, which has focused on combining design excellence with research and collaboration to produce lasting architecture that continues to influence the built environment.

William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little rock, Ark., completed in 2004.

William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little rock, Ark., completed in 2004.

Polshek was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1930, and earned a Master of Architecture from Yale University in 1955. He worked in New York—for I.M. Pei, FAIA, among others—before starting his own firm in the city, James Stewart Polshek Architect, in 1963. Over the last 54 years, his firm—which was rebranded most recently as Ennead Architects in 2010—has carried out countless projects, with a particular focus on cultural and restoration work, as well as education, civic, and commercial spaces. All told, the firm’s work has garnered more than 200 design awards, 15 national AIA Honor Awards, and the 1992 AIA Architecture Firm Award (as James Stewart Polshek and Partners).

American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space, New York, completed in 2000.

American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space, New York, completed in 2000.

While continuing to lead his practice, Polshek also served as the dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1972 to 1987, and oversaw a revision of the school’s curriculum. And his commitment to research and collaborative thinking can be seen clearly in projects such as his 1987 renovation of New York’s Carnegie Hall. That project included the restoration of many of the hall’s original details, the integration of contemporary technologies, and a master plan that became a case study for helping to ensure the continued success of landmarked buildings that had come under siege from changing market pressures. Polshek’s approach to design, which includes a thoughtful use of transparency and opacity of form, has been showcased in projects such as the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York (2000); the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. (2004); the Newseum in Washington, D.C. (2008); and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia (2010).

"James Stewart Polshek has had a remarkably generous career—he has empowered generations of students through Columbia University, which he made a significant impact on, and also through his practice, which has brought together talented architects and allowed them to do their very best work," says AIA's executive vice president and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. "In his own role as an architect, critic, and teacher, that studio has now grown and flourished so his legacy is broad. It isn’t only his individual design work, which is excellent, but the generosity of his academic spirit that has imbued an entire office and inspired other people to do their best."

Newseum, Washington, D.C., completed in 2008.

Newseum, Washington, D.C., completed in 2008.

"Polshek’s sensitivity as an architect and his willingness to give credit to others—whether they be his clients, staff or collaborators — have helped restore the promise that architecture can be an uplifting force in the world. Everywhere that he has worked, and throughout his eloquent writings, he has raised the level of discussion while pursuing an unambiguous goal of architecture as a healing art," says the AIA press release announcing the award.

"It's been a 55 year trip...and I'm not done yet," Polshek said in response to his win.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, New York, completed 2017.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, New York, completed 2017.

The 2018 AIA Gold Medal jury included chair Jonathan Penndorf, FAIA, of Perkins+Will in Washington, D.C.; David Greenbaum, FAIA, of SmithGroupJJR in Washington, D.C.; Alan Greenberger, FAIA, of Drexel University in Philadelphia; Wendy Hillis, AIA, of Tulane University in New Orleans; Thierry Paret, FAIA, of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Karina Ruiz of DOWA-IBI Group in Portland, Ore.; Moshe Safdie, FAIA, of Safdie Architects in Somerville, Mass. (himself the recipient of the 2015 AIA Gold Medal); and Takashi Yanai, FAIA, of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects in Culver City, Calif.

The AIA Gold Medal will be conferred at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York in June, where Polshek will join the ranks of previous AIA Gold Medal recipients, including Paul Revere Williams (who last year was the first African-American to receive the honor); Robert Venturi, FAIA, and Denise Scott Brown, Hon. FAIA(who in 2016 were the first pair to win the AIA Gold Medal concurrently); Julia Morgan (who in 2014 was the first woman to win the AIA Gold Medal); Thom Mayne, FAIA (2013); Steven Holl, FAIA (2012); Fumihiko Maki, Hon. FAIA (2011); and Peter Bohlin, FAIA (2010); among many others.