National Academy Welcomes New Mediums


For the first time in its 187-year history, the National Academy has included photographers and video and performance artists among its annual nominees, to be formally inducted this evening. Until 2011, only those falling under the painting, sculpture, printmaking and architecture umbrella were eligible to be voted into the Academy.

New inductees include Joan Jonas (video and performance), Cindy Sherman (photography) and Bill Viola (video) as well as many other visual artists and architects, among them Peter Saul, Joel Shapiro, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Annabelle Selldorf, Steven Holl and Bernard Tschumi. In all, 23 newly elected artists and architects will join the Academy, which currently has over 300 active members.

Artist James Siena, who was inducted last year, points out that two of the artists—Shirley Jaffe, an American painter long based in Paris, and David Diao, a Chinese-born artist who has lived in the States for most of his life—are “artists of the first rank, both of whom are not as well known to the American public as they should be.”

Each newly elected artist donates an artwork to the Academy. These contributions make up the NA’s permanent collection of over 7,000 art works, architectural drawings, photographs and models.