Joyce Pensato Wins Robert De Niro, Sr. Award


Joyce Pensato has been named the winner of the 2012 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize, an honor bestowed by the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. on one outstanding midcareer American painter each year. Pensato, a Brooklyn-based artist, will receive a $25,000 award administered by the Tribeca Film Institute.

The winner was selected by a jury of distinguished members of the art world, including A.i.A.‘s editor-at-large and former editor-in-chief, Elizabeth C. Baker; John Yau, poet and art critic for The Brooklyn Rail; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles founder Douglas Cramer; and Robert Storr, dean of Yale University’s School of Art and a longtime contributing editor to A.i.A.

“For all the promotional talk about artists who just go at it their own way, there aren’t very many who really run that risk, and fewer still who run it year in and year out over decades. Joyce Pensato has and continues to do so,” explained Storr in a press release. “Pensato’s work is a jolt of manic energy of a kind we desperately need, a kind that can’t be faked and that few have the strength to muster much less the stamina to sustain.”

The award is named after postwar artist Robert De Niro, Sr., who had a successful career as an abstract expressionist painter, exhibiting his work at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, New York, in the mid-1940s. His work is included in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; and the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, among others. Musée Matisse, Nice, held a retrospective exhibition of De Niro, Sr.’s work in 2010.

The artist’s son, actor Robert De Niro, provides funding for the prize, which was first awarded to Stanley Whitney last year. In a press release, the younger De Niro spoke highly of this year’s winner: “Like my father, Joyce Pensato has truly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to her art. I am proud to recognize her exceptional work and to continue to honor my father as an artist through the Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize.”