Franz West and Sturtevant (who long ago dropped her given name, Elaine) have been selected as the recipients of Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement at the upcoming Venice Biennale. The awards will be presented to the artists at noon on June 4, the official opening of the Biennale.
Both were cited by the Biennale board, chaired by Paolo Baratta, for "the uniqueness of their topical contribution to contemporary art and for having developed a forceful and rich oeuvre, which invites [viewers] to see [their] artistic production in connection with other intellectual discourses."
Sturtevant, born in the U.S. and based in Paris, was an appropriationist before there was a term for conceptual artists who copy works from a variety of contexts. She has been known since the 1960s for creating replicas of works by modern and contemporary artists like Duchamp, Beuys, Warhol and Felix Gonzales-Torres. Last year she had a show at the Musée d'Art moderne de la ville de Paris.
Franz West is known for his quirky, large-scale biomorphic sculptures and furniture installations. The Viennese native represented Austria in the 1992 Biennale. In 2010 a traveling survey of his work appeared at Museum Ludwig, Cologne; MADRE-Museo d'Arte contemporanea DonnaREgina, Naples; and Kunsthaus Graz.
The other Golden Lions-usually for best national pavilion and best participation in the international exhibition, among others-will be announced at the opening ceremony.