Hall of Fame

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.

2020 INDUCTEES

We postponed our 2020 benefit until next April 2021, and look forward to inducting honorees Kay WalkingStick and Chin Chih Yang into NYFA’s Hall of Fame at that time.

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

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

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

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 BeattyPhil Gilbert, and Carolee Schneemann.

Learn more about our 2018 Inductees

PAUL BEATTY

The fact that somebody was trying to encourage me, not feed me literally but kind of feed my drive, it was very important. It’s just nice to get some kind of recognition, and the support was huge.

Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty (Fellow in Poetry ’93) is the author of the novels Tuff (Anchor 1998), Slumberland (Bloomsbury USA 2008), and The White Boy Shuffle (Picador 1996), and the poetry collections Big Bank Take Little Bank (Nuyorican Poets Café Press 1991) and Joker, Joker, Deuce (Penguin 1994). He was the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (Bloomsbury USA 2006). In 2016, he became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout(Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015). In 2017, he was the winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award. He lives in New York City.


PHIL GILBERT

The role of the artist in the world, the role of the designer at IBM, it’s all the same thing: it’s about how we create human connections so that we can advance the state and the condition of mankind.

Phil Gilbert

Phil Gilbert, Patron of the Arts, is a recognized leader in the technology industry who has led the IBM design program since 2012, spearheading a broader transformation of how the company’s teams understand and solve complex problems. The program is based on two principles: adding formally-trained designers into IBM at an unprecedented scale, and reskilling its global workforce in design thinking and agile practices. Previously, Gilbert led the Business Process Management segment for IBM, where he drove the simplification of its portfolio and the ease-of-use of its products. He lives in Austin, Texas.


CAROLEE SCHNEEMAN

The year that I got a NYFA grant, that changed my life completely. I had three part-time jobs: I was a dog dryer in a pet shop, I was an extra in porno films, and I taught Sunday School on Sundays…I was pretty desperate for funding as usual in those years and the grant really changed my life.

Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann (Performance/Multidisciplinary ‘87) is one of the most influential artists of the second part of the 20th century. Her pioneering investigations into subjectivity, the social construction of the female body, and the cultural biases of art history have had significant influence on subsequent generations of artists. Recent honors include receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2017, and being celebrated with a career retrospective at MoMA PS1. Schneemann’s painting, photography, performance, and installation work has been exhibited at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Her work has been screened as part of film and video retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art; National Film Theatre, London; and San Francisco Cinematheque. 


2017 INDUCTEES

On April 14, 2017, we honored Ida ApplebroogPeggy Cooper CafritzChristopher d’Amboise, and Lynn Nottage.

Learn More about our 2017 Inductees

IDA APPLEBROOG

I received my first grant in 1986, and the second one in 1990, and it came at a time when I was very low on income and very low on recognition. It was great.

Ida Applebroog

Ida Applebroog (Fellow in Graphics ’86, Painting ’90) is a pioneering artist of the feminist movement whose work explores themes of violence and power, gender politics, women’s sexuality, and domestic space using images that are at once beguiling and disturbing. Her work has been show in many solo exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, and it resides in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.


PEGGY COOPER CAFRITZ

NYFA allows artists to change the trajectory of their careers. It allows them a cut at having enduring careers.

Peggy Cooper Cafritz

Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Patron of the Arts and former President of the District of Columbia Board of Education, is known for championing contemporary and emerging African American artists. Her dual passions for art and education led her to co-found the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., now one of the premiere arts high schools in the country. Among her may other achievements, she has helped bring greater racial and cultural diversity to the Smithosonian’s professional ranks, exhibitions, and educational programs as former Co-Chair for the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Equity Committee.


CHRISTOPHER D’AMBOISE

The NYFA grant allowed me to start my company. And it was this incredible validation of…being a risk-taker.

Christopher d’Amboise

Christopher d’Amboise (Fellow in Choreography ’89) was born into a family of dancers and has had many careers: dancer, choreographer, playwright, director, and educator. As Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, d’Amboise worked closely with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, originating works as well as performing major repertoire. His work has been recognized with some of the industry’s top honors, including a Tony nomination for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” in Andrew Lloyd Webbers’s Song and Dance, and a Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Choreography in a Play” for the Olney Theater’s production of Colossal. He is currently at Moving Story, a production company he founded that supports innovative dance-driven projects, as well as Heritage Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.


LYNN NOTTAGE

I got a grant from NYFA, which literally was my very first award. It really was the encouragement that I needed to move forward.

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage (Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting ’94, ’00) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays have been produced widely and throughout the world. In 2017, Nottage’s Sweat, a play about the American working class, was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for Drama; she was also a producer and writer on She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Nottage received a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Ruined, and is a past recipient of the MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ among many other honors. She is Co-Founder of the production company Market Road Films and is an Associate Professor in the Theater Department at Columbia University School of the Arts.

2016 INDUCTEES

On April 12, 2016, we honored James CasebereAnna Deavere SmithFaith Ringgold, and Zhou Long.

Learn more about our 2016 Inductees

JAMES CASEBERE

I am the artist I always wanted to be.

James Casebere

James Casebere’s (Fellow in Sculpture ’89, Photography ’85, ’94) pioneering work has established him at the forefront of artists working with constructed photography. For the last forty years, Casebere has devised increasingly complex models that are subsequently photographed in his studio. Based on architectural, art historical and cinematic sources, his table-sized constructions are made of simple materials, pared down to essential forms to create ambiguous, evocative, and surreal environments.


ANNA DEAVERE SMITH

What NYFA has done is given me a kind of freedom that I hope manifests in a very good project.

Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith (Current Fiscally Sponsored Artist) received the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. She was the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a MacArthur Fellow, and received The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She is recipient of two Tony nominations, and two Obie awards. Her current work-in-progress, the Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project, examines the school to prison pipeline. In popular culture you have seen her in Nurse Jackie, Black-ish, The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.


FAITH RINGGOLD

At 85, I don’t think life would be nearly as wonderful, if I were not an artist.

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold’s public art works include, Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines, 1996 in MTA’s 125th Street, For the Women’s House, 1971 Rose M Singer Center on Rikers Island. The Crown Heights Children’s History Quilt, 1994 a Percent for Art project is at P.S. 22 in Brooklyn. Tar Beach Mosaic, 2003 Princeton Library, and People Portraits, fifty-two mosaic panels in the Civic center subway station in Los Angeles, CA, 2010. Ringgold has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards (for painting and sculpture) and 23 honorary doctorates.


ZHOU LONG

As a composer I work between the cultures of the East and the West.

Zhou Long

Zhou Long (Fellow in Music Composition ’00) is the first Asian American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera, Madame White Snake. Dr. Zhou also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. He was a recipient of commissions and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, and various institutions around the world. Zhou Long is currently Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory.

2015 INDUCTEES

On April 14, 2015, we honored Judith K. BrodskyAntony HegartyShirin Neshat, and Eric Overmyer.

Learn more about our 2015 Inductees

JUDITH K. BRODSKY

I love being able to help support artists.

Judith K. Brodsky

Judith K. Brodsky is a board member of NYFA, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Visual Arts Department, Rutgers University where she founded the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions (BCIE) and co-founded the Rutgers University Institute for Women and Art. She is a former president of the College Art Association, National Women’s Caucus for Art, and ArtTable. Through her leadership, teaching, activism and fundraising ability, she has had an important impact on the transformation of the art world into a diverse global community.


ANTONY HEGARTY

It meant everything to me. It changed my life. It was the first profound endorsement that I’d ever received from an institution.

Antony Hegarty

Antony Hegarty (Fellow in Performance Art/Multidisciplinary Work, 1997) is the lead singer of the band, Antony and the Johnsons, whose debut album by the same name was released in 1998. Their album I Am a Bird Now won the UK’s Mercury Prize in 2005 and was named Album of the Year by Mojo magazine. Hegarty has also collaborated with Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, filmmaker Charles Atlas, and Björk.


SHIRIN NESHAT

It really gave me that necessary moral and psychological support to believe in myself.

Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat (Fellow in Photography, 1997) is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. She is the recipient of various prizes, including the Golden Lion Award at the 48th Venice Biennial (1999), the Hiroshima Freedom Prize (2005), and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2006). In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.


ERIC OVERMYER

The money was nice – I was starving – but the encouragement meant even more.

Eric Overmyer

Eric Overmyer (Fellow in Playwriting, 1986) is a writer, producer, and playwright. His television credits include The Affair, Law & Order, The Wire, Treme, and Boardwalk Empire. His plays include: On the Verge, In a Pig’s Valaise, and Native Speech. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from McKnight, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Le Comte du Nouy Foundation and has been nominated for 4 Emmy Awards.

2014 INDUCTEES

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

Learn more about our 2014 Inductees

DEBORAH KASS

It really gave me a lot of courage to have that support.

Deborah Kass

Deborah Kass was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Painting in 1991. She employs the visual motifs of post-war painting to explore the intersection of politics, popular culture, art history, and the self.

Her artworks are included in the collections of many prominent museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her mid-career retrospective, Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, was exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.


TERRY MCMILLAN

I couldn’t believe that someone thought I was doing something good enough to warrant this grant.

Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Fiction in 1986. She made her fiction debut with Mama, which won the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award.

She is the author of the bestselling novels Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and The Interruption of Everything. She was recognized with a NAACP Image Award and the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Literature.


DWIGHT RHODEN

NYFA is a part of the fabric of the arts community — and they made the difference.

Dwight Rhoden

Dwight Rhoden was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography in 1998. For nearly 2 decades, his choreography has been the lynchpin in the development of Complexions Contemporary Dance.

Since 1994, he has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and other companies including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. He has won the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography and the Ailey School Apex Award.


FORD FOUNDATION (REPRESENTED BY DARREN WALKER)

NYFA is important because it provides vital resources to artists.

Darren Walker

The Ford Foundation works with visionary leaders and organizations worldwide to change social structures and institutions so that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, have a voice in the decisions that affect them, and live and work in dignity.

Their commitment to social justice is carried out through programs that strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human knowledge, creativity and achievement.

2013 INDUCTEES

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

Learn more about our 2013 Inductees

ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL

Early support was essential. It led on to other things, and led on to other things, and paid itself back fifty thousand times.

Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Music Composition in 1989. He creates works for orchestra, theater, opera, ballet, and film.

Goldenthal was named one of two finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in music for his original two-act opera, Grendel, directed by Julie Taymor. He received an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for his score for the 2002 film Frida, also directed by Taymor. He has scored over 30 films, including Heat, The Butcher Boy, and The Tempest.


MIRA NAIR

Grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts made these dreams — which were not mainstream dreams, which were supposedly from the margins — possible.

Mira Nair

Mira Nair was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Film in 1988. Her first feature, 1988’s Salaam Bombay!, was the first Indian film to win the coveted Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988, followed by more than 25 international awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 1989.

In 2001, Nair’s film Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion, Venice’s top prize in cinema, becoming one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time. She is currently in production of the stage musical of the film, set to open on Broadway in 2014.


FRED WILSON

NYFA was really special and it remains really special. The most exciting part is that it catches you right at the beginning — at the cusp of your nascent ideas.

Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Sculpture in 1987 and 1991. He creates site-specific installations in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Since 1994, he has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and other companies including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. He has won the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography and the Ailey School Apex Award. 


MICHAEL FINDLAY

An organization like NYFA is vital for the constant fertilization of creativity at all levels, especially at ground level, and from ground-level up.

Michael Findlay

Michael Findlay is a director of Acquavella Galleries, which specializes in Impressionist and Modern European works of art and post-war American painting and sculpture.

Born in Scotland in 1945, Findlay directed one of the first SoHo galleries of the 1960s. In 1984, he joined the staff of Christie’s; in 1992, he became its International Director of Fine Arts and a member of its board of directors. Retired from Christie’s since 1992, Findlay currently serves on the Art Advisory Panel of the Internal Revenue Service.


2012 INDUCTEES

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

Learn more about our 2012 Inductees

ELIZABETH DILLER AND RICARDO SCOFIDIO

Early support was essential. It led on to other things, and led on to other things, and paid itself back fifty thousand times.

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio received NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships in Architecture in 1985, 1987, and 1998. Their interdisciplinary design studio, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts.

Diller and Scofidio were the recipients of MacArthur “genius” grants from 1999–2004.Their notable projects include Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the High Line, and expansion of the Julliard School.


CHRISTIAN MARCLAY

I didn’t have an MFA, and what the NYFA Fellowship gave me was credibility; if NYFA was willing to take a chance on me, then other people were.

Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Art  in 1985. Celebrated as a pioneer in turntablism, he transforms sound and music into visual and physical forms through performance, collage, sculpture, and large-scale multimedia installations.

Marclay’s works have been exhibited internationally in many galleries and museums, including the Tate Modern, the Whitney Museum, the White Cube, and the Louvre.


SUZAN-LORI PARKS

1985 was a pivotal year when [NYFA] gave me a grant. It helped me really that year to develop a lot of my performance projects.

Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Playwriting in 1990. Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave,” Parks is the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. She has been awarded grants by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2001 was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” grant.

Parks teaches at NYU and serves the Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair. Her latest project, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, is currently on Broadway.


2011 INDUCTEES

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

Learn more about our 2011 Inductees

TODD HAYNES

[The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship] was part of that original support that laid the groundwork for that kind of faith in the work, and faith that there’s an audience out there — and that there’s a support system out there.

Todd Haynes

Todd Haynes was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Film in 1989 and 1990. He has received numerous honors for directing and writing all of his films.

Haynes’ feature film debut, Poison, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival; his 1998 film Velvet Goldmine won Best Artistic Contribution at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. His 2002 film, Far from Heaven, won an Independent Spirit Award for directing, and received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Haynes’ most recent film, I’m Not There, won an Independent Spirit Award.


WENDY PERRON

It was sort of the turning point. I think I made stronger work after the NYFA grant. It was sort of the beginning of doing more work and being more visible.

Wendy Perron

Wendy Perron was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography in 1985. The Wendy Perron Dance Company, for which she choreographed more than 40 works, performed in cities throughout the U.S. and Europe from 1983–1997. Perron has choreographed solos for ballet luminaries Peter Boal and Martine van Hamel.

Perron has also served on the dance faculties of Bennington College, Princeton University, and NYU Tisch School of Art, among others. She now serves as Editor-at-Large of Dance magazine and has contributed articles to The New York Times and The Village Voice.


ANDRES SERRANO

It gave me hope and the belief that i was on the right track and that I should be an artist. NYFA has done that for thousands of artists. They’re a great organization to be a part of.

Andres Serrano

Andres Serrano, born in 1950, was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography in 1987. Serrano studied at the Brooklyn Museum and Art School.

After receiving critical acclaim for his Immersion series — including Piss Christ (1987) — he turned to the genre of portraiture, creating several thematic bodies of work throughout the 90s, including Nomads, Budapest Series, and A History of Sex.

Serrano is represented in New York and Paris by the Yvon Lambert Gallery.

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