I was never big on Altoids — they’re a bit too chalky, a little too fresh, perhaps. But I would be chewing the hell out of those things if they made me $25,000 richer, as they did the four individuals (one of them a New Yorker) whom the New Museum has named the winners of the first Altoids Award, a new biennial prize for emerging artists that’s sponsored by the "curiously strong" mint maker.
"For so many of these artists, this is a life-changing opportunity, and that is exactly what we are here for — to champion emerging artists and to consistently offer our audiences the chance to experience new art and new ideas from a variety of perspectives," said Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s director, in a statement.
In addition to the cash, the artists — who were selected from a pool of 46 nominees by a jury that included Paul McCartney — also get a joint exhibition at the New Museum that will run from June 25 through Oct. 12.
According to a release the museum sent out yesterday, the artists all "seem to be interested in new forms of storytelling, and in their individual styles they all explore the ways people come together to form groups based on identity, collaboration, family ties, or politics," and "their works offer a vivid picture of today’s American art and a complex, troubling view of America itself."