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Hall of Fame

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New York Foundation for the Arts established the NYFA Hall of Fame in recognition of the extraordinary artists we serve and the generous patrons who help us do so.

Since 2011, at our annual benefit, we have honored artists and patrons of the arts who, through their career-long sustenance of artistic vision and uncompromising integrity, represent the best that NYFA has to offer. Below, each inductee discusses their body of work and the impact of NYFA's support on creative pursuits. 

2019 Inductees

On April 11, 2019, we honored Sanford Biggers, Karl Kellner, and Min Jin Lee.

Sanford Biggers

When I got the NYFA award in 2005, I was not showing with a gallery. I was extremely excited for multiple reasons: number one, I got a check, which was a good thing. But beyond that, I was acknowledged as the artist that I was becoming...

Sanford Biggers' (Fellow in Performance/Multidisciplinary '05) work is an interplay of narrative, perspective, and history that speaks to current social, political, and economic happenings while also examining the contexts that bore them. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, with work in group exhibitions at the Menil Collection, Tate Modern, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2017, he was awarded the Rome Prize in Visual Arts. Biggers is also the creative director of Moon Medicin, a multimedia concept band that straddles visual art and music with performances staged against a backdrop of curated sound effects and video. He lives and works in New York City.

Karl Kellner

Artists play a critical role in the world-at-large. For me, art is one of the most energizing, the most incredibly inspiring parts of the fabric of life.

Karl Kellner, Patron of the Arts, is Senior Partner, New York Office Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, Inc., and a former NYFA Board Member. He has more than 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in health care management. His clients include CEOs, board directors, and C-level executives, and he focuses primarily on strategy development and performance improvement. In addition to his work at McKinsey, Kellner is active in the New York City community. He served from 2006-2018 on NYFA’s Board of Trustees, where he held roles including Treasurer and Strategic Planning Committee Chair. He lives in New York City with his wife, Suzannah, who works in the arts, and two children, Cassandra and Marshall.

Min Jin Lee

I needed to have this kind of support that somehow what I did mattered. And that was so important to have NYFA recognize that my little question was worth supporting, and I think that when the average person in this country thinks that art matters, that’s a huge step.

Min Jin Lee's (Fiction '00) 2017 novel Pachinko (Grand Central Publishing) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction; a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and was included on The New York Times, BBC, CBC, and New York Public Library lists of “The 10 Best Books of 2017,” among other “best of” lists from NPR, PBS, CNN, and many others. The book has since been translated into 24 languages. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (Grand Central Publishing, 2007) was a national bestseller that was recognized as a “Top 10 Book of the Year” by The Times of London, NPR’s “Fresh Air,” and USA Today. Lee is a recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard.

[+] 2018 Inductees

On April 12, 2018, we honored Paul Beatty, Phil Gilbert, and Carolee Schneemann.

[+] 2017 Inductees

On April 14, 2017, we honored Ida Applebroog, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Christopher d'Amboise, and Lynn Nottage.

[+] 2016 Inductees

On April 12, 2016, we honored James Casebere, Anna Deavere Smith, Faith Ringgold, and Zhou Long.

[+] 2015 Inductees

On April 14, 2015, we honored Judith K. Brodsky, Antony Hegarty, Shirin Neshat, and Eric Overmyer.

[+] 2014 Inductees

On April 22, 2014, we honored Deborah Kass, Terry McMillan, and Dwight Rhoden, and the Ford Foundation (represented by Darren Walker).

[+] 2013 Inductees

On April 23, 2013, we honored Elliot Goldenthal, Mira Nair, and Fred Wilson, as well as Michael Findlay, director of Acquavella Galleries.

[+] 2012 Inductees

On April 30, 2012, we honored Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Christian Marclay, and Suzan-Lori Parks.

[+] 2011 Inductees

On April 26, 2011, we honored Todd Haynes, Wendy Perron, and Andres Serrano.

Image Credit: 2017 NYFA Hall of Fame Benefit, Photo Credit: Carl Timpone/

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