The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has named Jefferson Pinder, Professor in the Department of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) as a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow along with SAIC alum, Laura Ann Harrison (SAIC 2014–17). Now in its 93rd year, the annual competition recognizes a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability.
Pinder’s work provokes commentary about race and struggle. Focusing primarily with neon, found objects, and video, Pinder investigates identity through the most dynamic circumstances and materials. Through his meditative exploration of light and sound, or his intensely grueling corporeal performances, he delves into conversations about race. Recently, Pinder exhibited at the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, and at the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In November, he was awarded the 2016 USA Joyce Fellowship Award in the field of performance. Additionally, he is the recipient of the 2017 Moving Image Acquisition award.
Harrison was also named a Guggenheim Fellow and is a painter and experimental animator. Her films focus on marginalized, social outcasts with their own subcultures. Harrison’s films have shown at festivals including The New York Film Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Animafest Zagreb, Los Angeles Film Festival, The Chicago Underground Film Festival, Japan Media Art Festival, and many others.
Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $350 million in Fellowships to more than 18,000 recipients, including scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize.