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Five SVA Community Members Are Awarded 2021 Guggenheim Fellowships
April 22, 2021
A photograph of a number of text-based posters, with black type against a yellow background, that have been installed side by side on what appears to be a building exterior on a city street.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed, How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette), 2014, mixed media.

Credit: Kameelah Janan Rasheed/Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, UK

Earlier this month, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced its 2021 fellowships—a diverse group of 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists chosen from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants. Among the 2021 Guggenheim Fellows are five SVA community members: alumnus Annie Sprinkle (BFA 1986 Photography), who received a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts for Film and Video, and MFA Fine Arts faculty Dara BirnbaumKameelah Janan RasheedDread Scott and James Siena, all recipients of 2021 Guggenheim Fellowships in the Fine Arts.

Credit: Artforum
Dara Birnbaum on her life and art

Annie Sprinkle is an artist and activist whose feminist, sex-positive, and ecologically minded work—dating from the 1970s through the present—encompasses a variety of media, from books to photography to performance to film. Her work has been shown at such venues as documenta 14, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Venice Biennale; her most recent book, Assuming the Ecosexual Position—The Earth as Lover—will be published later this year by the University of Minnesota Press. For more information on her work and her Guggenheim Fellowship, click here.

A grid of black-and-white photographs of the torso of a topless woman who is wearing dark elbow-length gloves.

Annie Sprinkle, Bosom Ballet, 1990 – 1991.

Credit: Annie Sprinkle

Dara Birnbaum is an artist whose groundbreaking and influential video, media and installation works critique and transform mass-media communications, culture and other art forms. In 2019, a group of curators and artists invited by The New York Times to select 25 artworks “that define the contemporary age” included Birnbaum’s early video workTechnology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978 – 1979. Her many exhibitions and screenings include a 2008 solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and her work is in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Tate Modern, London. Her upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at the n.b.k., Berlin, in June, and Note(s): Work(ing) Process(es) Re: Concerns (That Take On / Deal With), a book of early sketches, notes and other materials to be published in July. For more information on Birnbaum’s work and her Guggenheim Fellowship, click here.


Kameelah Janan Rasheed is an artist and writer whose work focuses on texts (defined by Rasheed as “anything that could be read”) and Black storytelling technologies and includes prints, collage, installations, interventions and performances. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; and the New Museum, New York, among other institutions and galleries, and her many grants, awards and fellowships include a 2015 AIR Gallery Fellowship. Rasheed is the founder of Mapping the Spirit, a digital archive of materials documenting the Black American religious and spiritual life and practices, and Orange Tangent Study, a boutique consultant service. For more information on her work and her Guggenheim Fellowship, click here.

Dread Scott is an artist whose practice is focused on “revolutionary” works, created with the intention of catalyzing societal change. In 2020, his piece A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday (2015) by The New York Times as one of the 25 “most influential works of protest art since World War II.” Scott’s work is in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and his solo exhibitions include shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn. For more information on his work and his Guggenheim Fellowship, click here.


James Siena is an artist whose rule-based abstract works include drawings, prints and paintings. His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other institutions; his many awards include recognitions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Cornell University and New York Foundation for the Arts. His most recent solo exhibition, “Paintings,” was on view at the Pace Gallery in 2019. For more information on Siena’s work and his Guggenheim Fellowship, click here.

A painting of a number of squiggly black lines forming a series of shapes against a yellow background.

James Siena, Tnonde, 2017 – 18, acrylic on canvas.

Credit: © James Siena/Pace Gallery

For more information on the 2021 Fellows and the full list of awardees, visit gf.org. Congratulations to all the SVA recipients!