2017 AICAD Alumni Genius Grant Recipients

Three AICAD Alumni have been recipients of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship award, better known as the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant!

Photo of Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen / Photo: MacArthur Foundation

Photo of Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey / Photo: MacArthur Foundation

Photo of Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Njideka Akunyili Crosby / Photo: MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Fellowships, awarded annually for exceptional “originality, insight, and potential”, come with a no-strings-attached award of $625,000, which is distributed to recipients over five years. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields across the United States.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (PAFA, 2006) is a figurative painter whose large-scale works express the hybridity characteristic of transnational experience through choices of subject matter, materials, and techniques. Akunyili Crosby layers paint, fabric, and photographic source imagery that she transfers or collages onto her surfaces. She constructs scenes that often include figures, sometime family members, situated in domestic settings. The artist explores the complexities of forging identity in a globalized society, developing strategies for understanding culture and history from multiple viewpoints at once.

Dawoud Bey (SVA 1977-78) is a photographer and educator whose portraits of people, many from marginalized communities, compel viewers to consider the reality of the subjects’ own social presence and histories. Through his expansive approach to photography—which includes deep engagement with his subjects and museum-based projects—Bey is making institutional spaces more accessible to the communities in which they are situated.

Trevor Paglen (SAIC, 2002) is a conceptual artist and geographer making the invisible operations of military and corporate power visible to everyday citizens. He draws on his training as a geographer and utilizes the tools of image-making to explore infrastructures of warfare, surveillance, and social control that are usually hidden from the general public. He produces images, sculptural works, and writings to examine the ways that human rights are threatened in an era of mass surveillance and data collection.

The MacArthur Genius Grant serves as an investment in a recipient’s originality, insight, and potential. The purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society. Congrats to Njideka, Dawoud and Trevor!