Event | Kay WalkingStick and Chin Chih Yang to be Honored at 2020 NYFA Hall of Fame Benefit

Event | Kay WalkingStick and Chin Chih Yang to be Honored at 2020 NYFA Hall of Fame Benefit

The event recognizes the sustained achievements of artists who received early career support from NYFA, and the vision and commitment of enlightened arts patrons.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) will celebrate the induction of two arts luminaries into the NYFA Hall of Fame during its annual benefit on Thursday, April 2, 2020 at Capitale, 130 Bowery, New York, NY 10013. The event recognizes visual, literary, and performing artists who have received NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships and have had a profound impact on the arts through their creative work, and patrons of the arts who have championed the value of the arts in the world around us. The evening’s honorees are: 

  • Kay WalkingStick, Visual Artist (Fellow in Painting ’92, Murray Reich Award ’18)
  • Chin Chih Yang, Multidisciplinary Artist (Fellow in Digital/Electronic Arts ’11)

The ticketed event will feature cocktails; dinner; and a live/silent auction of art, experiences, and more. For the first time, items included in the live/silent auction will be on display during a public preview exhibition in Manhattan; it will run from March 17 – April 1 at ChaShaMa’s Space to Present at 340 East 64th Street (Tues – Fri, 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM). All Hall of Fame Benefit tickets come with a signed, limited-edition print by Kay WalkingStick created exclusively for the event. Attire is festive cocktail.

On the inductees, arts advocate and NYFA Board Chair Marc Jason said: “Kay WalkingStick and Chin Chih Yang are creating important works that prompt us to question our relationship with the environment. Their work captivates because it is both highly personal—in terms of the spiritual and physical impact of landscape—and universal for how we navigate an increasingly complex world.”

The event recognizes the sustained achievements of artists who received early career support from NYFA, and the vision and commitment of enlightened patrons of the arts. WalkingStick and Yang are past recipients of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, which are individual unrestricted grants made to artists who are living and working in New York State. Other past NYFA Hall of Fame Inductees include Ida Applebroog, Paul Beatty, Sanford Biggers, James Casebere, Christopher d’Amboise, Phil Gilbert, Anna Deavere Smith, Min Jin Lee, Zhou Long, Christian Marclay, Terry McMillan, Mira Nair, Lynn Nottage, Eric Overmyer, Suzan-Lori Parks, Wendy Perron, Dwight Rhoden, Faith Ringgold, Carolee Schneemann, and Andres Serrano. WalkingStick was also more recently recognized with the Murray Reich Distinguished Artist Award, which is awarded to mature and established visual artists with a long history of creative practice.

“We’re thrilled to induct Kay WalkingStick and Chin Chih Yang into our Hall of Fame,” said Michael L. Royce, Executive Director, NYFA. “Both first came to NYFA as NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellows, which is often seen as a validation of an artist’s vision and voice by their peers. It’s wonderful to bring them back to NYFA in this significant way, to further recognize their contributions in the arts and beyond,” he added.

NYFA is proud to present this year’s honorees and celebrate their impact on the cultural community:

Kay WalkingStick is a Cherokee painter who focuses on the American landscape and its metaphorical significances to Native Americans and all citizenry. Her diptych paintings are particularly powerful metaphors that express the beauty of uniting the disparate and has resonance for WalkingStick because of her biracial background. “It is also a useful construct to express the conflicts and bivalence of everyone’s lives,” she has said. The varied rendering of landscape in WalkingStick’s art is the thread that weaves together the many painterly directions her art has taken over the last 50 years. The filter of memory is a constant, with paintings based on site sketches and photos with figures drawn from her imagination; neither are a depiction of a specific place or activity, but instead suggest how a place or activity would feel. In 2015, WalkingStick was celebrated with a solo show “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist” at The National Museum of the American Indian. It later traveled to the Heard Museum, Dayton Art Institute, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Gilcrease Art Museum, and Montclair Art Museum. Her work is currently on view in Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York through Fall 2021 and is part of the permanent collections of institutions including the Albright-Knox, Denver Art Museum, Detroit Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. WalkingStick was inducted as a full member in the National Academy of Design in 2019, and received the Lee Krasner Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2011. She was recognized with a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in 1992, and the 2018 Murray Reich Distinguished Artist Award. WalkingStick is represented by June Kelly Gallery, NY and lives in Easton, PA with the artist Dirk Bach.

Chin Chih Yang is a multidisciplinary artist from Taiwan who lives and works in New York. His work uniquely incorporates the rhythms and discords of human society, exhibiting them in terms of the waste materials that are discarded by industrialized production. Yang’s interests in ecology and constructed environments have resulted in interactive performances and installations that have been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues and fairs including Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, Union Square Park, Queens Museum, and the Taipei Art Fair. His performances often dramatize the divided quality of the self, and he uses video projections to create a discordant ambience specific to the themes of his performances. Burning ICE, an interactive ice environment, invited Union Square Park-goers to cool down on a giant ice bench in August 2009. Human warmth melted the frozen water, mirroring how human activity has hastened the melting of the world’s great ice deposits. Another project, Kill Me or Change, staged at Queens Museum of Art, involved Yang being buried under 30,000 aluminum cans—the average number of cans one person throws away over a lifetime. It showed quite literally the suffering effects of one person’s polluting and served as a call-to-action for audience members to reconsider their consumption (and waste) habits. Yang’s work has been highlighted in publications including The New York Times, Taipei Times, BBC, CBS, Time Out New York, NY1, and Art Asia Pacific. In addition to his 2011 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Arts, Yang has received an Urban Artist Initiative fellowship, a fellowship from Franklin Furnace, a fellowship from the New York State Council for the Arts, and a “Swing Space” residency at Governors Island from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Ticket prices start at $650 and Tables at $6,500; you can purchase tickets here. For more information about NYFA’s Hall of Fame Benefit, please contact Kim Goodis at [email protected] or 212.366.6900 x 207.

Images: Kay WalkingStick, Photo Credit Julia Maloof and Chin Chih Yang, Courtesy Chin Chih Yang

Amy Aronoff
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