Wexner Prize

prize winners

The Wexner Prize honors artists in any field who have demonstrated bold originality, innovation, and creative excellence.

The Wexner Prize is given to contemporary artists whose work has been consistently original, influential, and challenging to convention. These artists are respected and impactful not only within their own fields or disciplines but often across multiple artistic practices.

"That this award comes from the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, noted for its open and generous interest in contemporary art, is not just a plus, but a signal light as to the future of the arts in all our lives."
—Late choreographer Merce Cunningham, accepting the Prize in 1993

Awarded in its first year (1992) to theater director Peter Brook and most recently to photographer Annie Leibovitz, the Prize is funded by the Wexner Center Foundation through a gift from its Chairman Leslie H. Wexner (Founder/Chairman/CEO of L Brands) and his wife Abigail Wexner, also a trustee. The recipient is selected by the Wexner Center Foundation trustees, along with the center’s director and senior program staff.

Prize winners receive $50,000 and an engraved silver sculpture (pictured above right) designed in 1991 by artist Jim Dine. The artist has noted that hammers can be used to build and to break apart, symbolizing the often dual nature of the creative force that drives artists in their work. A native of Ohio, Dine served as an early member of the Wexner Center’s International Arts Advisory council.

 

Prize Recipients

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Peter Brook, 1992

Theater director

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Merce Cunningham, 1993

Choreographer

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John Cage, 1993

Composer

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Bruce Nauman, 1994

Visual Artist

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Yvonne Rainer, 1995

Choreographer and Filmmaker

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Martin Scorsese, 1996–97

Filmmaker

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Gerhard Richter, 1998

Visual Artist

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Louise Bourgeois, 1999

Visual Artist

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Robert Rauschenberg, 2000

Visual Artist

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Renzo Piano, 2001

Architect

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William Forsythe, 2002

Choreographer

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Issey Miyake, 2004

Designer

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Bill T. Jones, 2005

Choreographer

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Spike Lee, 2008

Filmmaker

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Annie Leibovitz, 2012

Photographer