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100 Artists for the Orchid Foundation Artist News: Alfredo Jaar

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  • August 28, 2020
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World’s Top Photography Award Goes to Alfredo Jaar, Maker of Poetic Works Focused on Political Resistance

The Hasselblad Prize is perhaps the greatest honor a photographer can receive, and winning it often acts as a capstone to a long and pioneering career. Now, the Hasselblad Foundation has revealed the latest winner: Alfredo Jaar, who is known for his incisive conceptual photography focused on globalism and political resistance.

Jaar will receive the award in October in Gothenburg, Sweden, where the Hasselblad Foundation is based. Through the award, Jaar will receive 1 million Swedish kroner (around $105,500), as well as a solo show at the Hasselblad Center. He joins a list of past winners that includes Cindy Sherman, Ansel Adams, Daido Moriyama, Walid Raad, Robert Frank, and Graciela Iturbide

The prize jury, chaired by Thyago Nogueira, head of the photography department at the Instituto Moreira Salles in Rio de Janeiro, said in a statement, “Alfredo Jaar explores complex socio-political issues, bringing to the fore the ethics of representation. Through quiet and meditative works, Jaar confronts issues of great magnitude, bearing witness to humanitarian disasters and attesting to the impact of military conflict, political corruption and economic inequality throughout the world.”

Jaar’s work has taken a variety of forms, including installations, sculptures, photographs, performances, films, and conceptual pieces. Born in Chile, raised in Martinique, and based in New York, he frequently explores the role that photographic images play in shaping our understanding of global politics, with a focus on issues related to migration and dictatorial regimes. Among his most famous works is the billboard A Logo for America, first shown in New York’s Times Square in 1987, in which the titular phrase is superimposed over a blank map of the United States.

The Hasselblad Prize is yet another major honor awarded to Jaar, who has previously received a MacArthur “genius” grant, the Hiroshima Art Prize, and Chile’s National Art Prize. He has shown at four editions of the Venice Biennale in Italy, representing Chile at one of them (in 2013), and at two editions of Documenta in Kassel, Germany.

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