Please wait

Bucksbaum Award

Established in 2000 by longtime Whitney trustee Melva Bucksbaum and her family, the Bucksbaum Award is given every two years in recognition of an artist, chosen from those included in the Biennial, whose work demonstrates a singular combination of talent and imagination. In addition to receiving a $100,000 grant, each Bucksbaum laureate is invited to present an exhibition at the Whitney sometime within the succeeding two years. Conceived to encourage an artist who has previously produced a significant body of work, whose project for the Biennial is itself outstanding, and whose future artistic contribution promises to be lasting, the Bucksbaum Award acknowledges an artist's full spectrum of production: past, present, and future.

On May 21, 2014, the eighth Bucksbaum Award was presented to New York–based artist Zoe Leonard, who was selected from among 103 participants in the 2014 Biennial. One of the most distinguished artists of her generation, Leonard is known for her work in photography, film, and sculpture, and also participated in both the 1993 and 1997 Whitney Biennials. For this year's iteration, she created 945 Madison Avenue, trasforming a section of the Museum's fourth floor into an enormous camera obscura, a naturally occurring phenomenon in which a small hole in one side of a dark chamber projects an inverted image of the outside view onto the surfaces of the room. 

Download the press release
Read more about Leonard's 2014 Biennial installation

Award Recipients


A Decade in Conversation: A Ten-Year Celebration of The Bucksbaum Award,

By Chrissie Iles, Christiane Paul,
Carter E. Foster, and Tina Kukielski

Featuring conversations with Paul Pfeiffer, Irit Batsry, Raymond Pettibon, Mark Bradford, and Omer Fast, A Decade in Conversation presents fascinating details about the ways the first five Bucksbaum Award winners are shaping contemporary art today. 

The excerpt available here includes interviews with Bradford and Fast, as well as a foreword by Adam D. Weinberg, and a statement from Melva Bucksbaum.