|Founder||Jan and Marica Vilcek|
|Focus||Arts, biomedical science, immigration|
|Jan Vilcek (Co-founder), Marica Vilcek(Co-founder), Rick Kinsel (President)|
The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of immigrant contributions to the United States, and fosters appreciation of the arts and sciences. The foundation's flagship programs include the Vilcek Foundation Prizes, which recognize and support immigrant contributions to American arts, biomedical science, and society. The foundation is also the designated steward of the art collection assembled by founders Jan and Marica Vilcek, comprising holdings in American modernism, Native American pottery, pre-Columbian objects, and contemporary art.
The Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the Foundation was inspired by the couple's respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered them as newcomers to the United States.
- 1 Prizes
- 1.1 Vilcek Prizes
- 1.2 Vilcek Prize for Excellence
- 1.3 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise
- 1.4 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare
- 1.5 New American Filmmakers
- 1.6 Prize recipients
- 2 Art collections
- 3 Events and exhibitions
- 4 Publications
- 5 References
The Vilcek Prizes are awarded to foreign-born individuals residing permanently in the United States, with a legacy of outstanding achievement in the arts and sciences. The Foundation awards two Vilcek Prizes annually, one in biomedical science and the other in the arts and humanities; the latter in a field designated annually by the Foundation, such as fine arts, architecture, music, filmmaking, culinary art, literature, dance, contemporary music, design, and fashion. Each prize consists of a $100,000 cash award and a commemorative sculpture designed by Austrian-born Stefan Sagmeister.
Vilcek Prize for Excellence
The Vilcek Prize for Excellence, introduced in 2019, recognizes immigrants whose contributions profoundly impact American society and world culture, or individuals who are champions for immigrant causes. The recipients receive a $100,000 cash award and a commemorative diploma designed by Jessica Walsh.
Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise
The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded to foreign-born individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement during the early stages of their careers. Like the Vilcek Prize, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded each year in the field of biomedical science and a selected art field. Creative Promise applicants are required to submit essays, personal statements, and examples of their work. To be eligible for the prize, applicants must have been born abroad, reside permanently in the United States, and be within the specified age limit. As of 2013, three prizes each will be awarded in biomedical science and a designated art field. Each recipient is awarded a $50,000 cash prize and a commemorative plaque.
Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare
In 2019, the Vilcek Foundation partnered with the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to create a joint award, the Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare. The award is bestowed to a foreign-born individual in the United States who has demonstrated an extraordinary impact on humanism in healthcare through their professional achievements.
New American Filmmakers
Since 2007, the Vilcek Foundation has been a proud sponsor of the New American Filmmakers program. Curated and presented in collaboration with the Hawaii International Film Festival, the program seeks out the most talented foreign-born filmmakers currently contributing to American cinema. The result is a diverse program that draws upon cinematic genres and traditions from around the world.
Vilcek Prizes for Excellence
|Name||Year||Category||Country of Birth|
|Carmen C. Bambach
||2019||Art History and Museum Work||Chile|
Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise
In 2013, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise were changed from recognizing one winner and four finalists to recognizing three winners in each category. The past finalists are listed below.
Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare
|Name||Year||Citation||Country of Birth|
|Mona Hanna-Attisha||2019||For exposing lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, through public water supply||UK, to Iraqi parents|
The Vilcek Foundation holds several art collections that are promised gifts from founders Jan and Marica Vilcek. These collections include the American Modernism Collection, which traces the development of artists such as Oscar Bluemner, Ralston Crawford, Stuart Davis, and Marsden Hartley, as well as the movement as a whole; the Native American Pottery Collection, which consists primarily of objects by Acoma, Hopi, Cochiti, Kewa, Tesuque, Zia, and Zuni potters, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries; and the Pre-Columbian Collection, which features objects from across the pre-Columbian world, with an emphasis on the art of Mesoamerica, and the Contemporary Art Collection, a small but growing collection of works by contemporary immigrant artists.
Events and exhibitions
In 2019, the Vilcek Foundation opened their new headquarters on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which includes two floors of gallery space. The gallery will be the site of free, public exhibitions based on the Vilcek Foundation Art Collections; the inaugural exhibition, "Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs," opened on May 13 and will run through November 13, 2019.
“Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs” explores the national and international influences on the multifaceted Canadian-born artist. Although he earned acclaim early in his career for his Precisionist paintings of an industrialized America, Crawford devoted the latter part of his career to abstract painting with a remarkable emotional dimension. “Torn Signs” focuses on two series—“Torn Signs” and “Semana Santa”—that the artist developed over the last two decades of his life. Though their subject matter is drastically different—one is inspired by tattered advertisements on New York’s streets, while the other depicts observers of Holy Week in Seville, Spain—Crawford connects them through his extraordinary visual memory, working method, and inventiveness.
The inaugural exhibition in the Vilcek Foundation’s headquarters, “Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs,” was curated by Emily Schuchardt Navratil. A catalogue of the exhibition was published in 2019 by Merrell Publishers, and features contributions from William Agee, John Crawford, Rick Kinsel, and exhibition curator Emily Schuchardt Navratil. The exhibition was reviewed by Louis Block for the September issue of The Brooklyn Rail. Block’s review contextualizes the impact and influence of the earlier works, “Torn Signs” on the Semana Santa series, with particular focus on compositional development and geometric abstraction.
In September, 2019, the Vilcek Foundation announced its 2020 exhibition, Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts, on display from April 29th through September 9th, 2020. The exhibition will bring together over 35 paintings and drawings from the American Modernist painter, poet, and essayist, Marsden Hartley, spanning 36 years of his career. Exhibited alongside a selection of Hartley’s personal effects –mementos from his travels, snapshots, and keepsakes – the exhibition will provide an intimacy and depth to the artist and his works, providing a deeper understanding of how his wanderlust and life influenced his art.
To organize this unique exhibition, the Vilcek Foundation partnered with the Bates College Museum of Art, home to The Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection. Following its display in New York, the exhibition will travel to the Bates College Museum of Artin Lewiston, ME where it will be on display from October 2nd, 2020 through March 2nd, 2021.
Past events and exhibitions
The Vilcek Foundation's former headquarters, also on the Upper East Side, was the host of exhibitions and events featuring the work of immigrant artists, designers, filmmakers, and others.
|Exhibition/Event||Type of Event||Year||Participant(s)||Participant's Country of Birth|
|Brian Doan: hôme hôme hôme||Mixed-media Installation||2013||Brian Doan||Vietnam|
|Pivotal Works: The Vilcek Foundation Project||Series of Dance performances||2012||Michel Kouakou
|I Am Your Mirror||Photography, Mixed-media Installation||2012||O Zhang||China|
|Almost Undone||Mixed-media Installation||2011||Nicole Awai||Trinidad|
|String Theater||Concert||2011||Mari Kimura||Japan|
|The New Vernacular: Immigrant Authors in American Literature||Literature Reading||2011||Dinaw Mengestu
Simon Van Booy
Liesl Schillinger (host)
|Caring and Advocating for Torture Survivors||Lecture||2011||Allen Keller (Lecturer)
|Senbazuru||Mixed-media Installation||2010||Toshiko Nishikawa||Japan|
|Transparency||Fashion Presentation||2010||Madina Vadache||Russia|
|The Vilcek Foundation Celebrates LOST||Photography Installation, Exhibition of Original Props||2010||24 Immigrant and First Generation Cast and Crew of ABC's LOST|
Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Philippines, South Korea, Tonga
|Circumplex||Video Art Installation||2009||Kai-Duc Luong||Cambodia|
|Mephistophelean||Exhibition of Sculpture||2009||Ryo Toyanaga||Japan|
|Japanese Art Today: Takashi Murakami and "Superflat" in Context||Lecture||2009||Eleanor Heartney|
|Why 1960's Japanese Art? Global Implications for Contemporary Art History||Lecture||2009||Reiko Tomii||Japan|
|Asian American Artist and the Transmission of the East to the American Avant-Garde||Lecture||2009||Alexandra Munroe|
|American Immigrant Filmmakers on Profile||Film Screening||2008||Sarab Neelam
|The Gatekeeper of Emmyoin||Film Screening||2008||Reiko Tahara
|Il Lee and Pouran Jinchi: Curated by Art Projects International||Exhibition of paintings and drawings||2008||Il Lee
A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation's Top Foreign-Born Chefs
A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs introduces the immigrants who are transforming America’s culinary landscape. Today, some of the country’s most exciting chefs hail from distant shores and they’re infusing their menus with the flavors of their heritage. Featuring recipes from 40 of the top foreign-born chefs working in the United States, this book presents dishes from luminaries including Dominique Crenn (France), Michael Solomonov (Israel), Marcus Samuelsson (Ethiopia/Sweden), Corey Lee (South Korea), and Daniela Soto-Innes (Mexico). These chefs are running the kitchens of the country’s most exciting restaurants and each of them has a compelling story to tell, from tackling economic injustice to redefining restaurant culture. With mouthwatering photography and short contributions from America’s leading food writers, such as Padma Lakshmi, this sumptuous, global, and inspiring cookbook brings a world of flavor into home kitchens. A Place at the Table was released by Prestel Publishing on September 24th, 2019.
Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs
Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs explores the national and international influences on the multifaceted Canadian-born artist. Although he earned acclaim early in his career for his Precisionist paintings of an industrialized America, Crawford devoted the latter part of his career to abstract painting with a remarkable emotional dimension. Torn Signs focuses on two series—“Torn Signs” and “Semana Santa”—that the artist developed over the last two decades of his life. The catalogue includes essays from Rick Kinsel on the influence of Crawford’s travels to Europe, especially to Andalusia; William C. Agee on the artist’s life and reaction to historical events of the 20th century; John Crawford on the relationship between the two series and the role of photography in their development; and Emily Schuchardt Navratil on the genesis and context of individual works in each series. "Ralston Crawford: Torn Signs" was released by Merrell Publishers in April 2019.
American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans
American Odysseys is an anthology of twenty-two novelists, poets, and short story writers. Among the featured writers are Ethiopian-born Dinaw Mengestu, the recipient of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature; Yugoslavian-born Téa Obreht, the youngest author to receive the Orange Prize in Fiction; and Chinese-born Yiyun Li, a MacArthur Genius grantee. The foreword is by U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, the winner of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Literature. A private, hard copy edition was first published in January 2012, and a trade paperback edition was released by Dalkey Archive Press on May 2, 2013.
Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection
Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection, features ninety-eight paintings, works on paper and sculptures by twenty artists - including Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe and Max Weber. William C. Agee contributed the book's introduction and Lewis Kachur wrote individual entries on each work. In addition to tracing the evolution of individual artists and the movement as a whole, the book explores developments within American Modernism, such as Synchromism and Color Abstraction, American Cubism, and the influence of the landscape and culture of the Southwest (an issue that is explored in depth in the book's Illustrated Timeline). The Collection also highlights the contributions of immigrant artists – eight of the twenty artists were born outside the United States. The book is prefaced by a collector's statement from Ján Vilček and Marica Vilcek and has contributions by The Vilcek Foundation's President, Rick Kinsel, and Associate Curator, Emily Schuchardt Navratil.
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