Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott win inaugural Frieze Impact Prize, in partnership with Art for Justice - FAD Magazine

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Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott win inaugural Frieze Impact Prize, in partnership with Art for Justice

Frieze have named Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott as the winners of the inaugural Frieze Impact Prize. Realized in partnership with Art for Justice and Endeavor Impact, the award recognizes justice-involved artists and those contributing to the movement to end mass incarceration in the US.  

Selected by a jury comprising Agnes Gund (Chair, Art for Justice), Ari Emanuel (CEO, Endeavor), Bettina  Korek (Chief Executive, Serpentine Galleries) and Pilar Tompkins Rivas (Chief Curator, Deputy Director of  Curatorial and Collections, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art) the winners each receive $25,000 for a work of art relating to the movement to end mass incarceration. Baxter, Gaspar and Scott will present iterations of their winning artworks at the third edition of Frieze Los Angeles, February 17th – 20th, 2022. 

The purpose of the Frieze Impact Prize is to expose the inequitable aspects of the criminal justice system and challenge its racially-biased public perceptions. The initiative builds on Frieze and Endeavor Impact’s commitment to increasing accessibility to the creative industries, with applications open to U.S. based visual artists aged 18 or older, regardless of citizenship status, felony convictions, or formal training in art, with special consideration given to justice-involved artists. 


Mary Baxter Affirmations of Love: 5’x15′, graphic design, mural on parachute cloth. 2020. (Mural Arts Philadelphia collab)

Mary Baxter received the prize for her work Ain’t I a Woman, a multi-media installation comprised of audio,  video and text, chronicling her life before, during and after incarceration. The work, in Baxter’s words,  prompts the viewer to ‘reexamine present-day laws, policies and procedures that compound the intersections  of motherhood, reproductive justice, crime and punishment.’ Ain’t I Woman, she adds, ‘gives a face to the cruel  and unusual punishment pregnant women undergo while incarcerated, utilizing solution-based storytelling  and policy reform to articulate a shared vision for abolition.’ 

Maria Gaspar, Soy Paz, Soy Más featured as part of In Plain Sight (invitated by rafa esparza and Cassils), 2020. Sky-typed message above Coastal Bend Detention Center (Robstown, TX), dimensions variable. Photo credit: Ronald L. Jones.
Soy Paz, Soy Más was one of 80 sky-written messages produced in water vapor that artists released into the air as part of In Plain Sight, a nationwide artist-led intervention by Cassils and rafa esparza, dedicated to abolishing immigrant detention and dismantling the United States culture of incarceration. In partnership with immigrant advocacy organizations, In Plain Sight transmitted sky-written messages above ICE detention centers across the US on July 3-5, 2020. Presented at the Coastal Bend Detention Center in Robstown, TX, I chose text based on a song; “Soy Pan, Soy Paz, Soy Más” popularized by Mercedes Sosa, a Latin American folk singer. The message (I am peace, I am more) was directed to the Spanish-speaking communities living in and around the facility. This message of love, suspended in the sky for a moment, reflected on loss and hope for those seeking refuge. For more information, visit the website: xmap.us.

Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture,  sound, and performance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats and durations,  including sound performances at a military site in New Haven (Sounds for Liberation); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago and Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives (Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter); and audio-video works, documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood (On the Border of What is Formless and  Monstrous).
Gaspar’s projects have been supported by the Art for Justice Fund, the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist  Fellowship, the Creative Capital Award, the Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, and the Art Matters  Foundation. Maria has received the United States Artists Fellowship, the Sor Juana Women of Achievement  Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Chamberlain Award for 

Social Practice from the Headlands Center for the Arts. Gaspar has lectured and exhibited extensively at venues including MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn,  NY. 

Dread Scott, Wanted,” community-based project: performance, meetings, video, Wanted posters, 2014

Dread Scott is a visual artist whose works are exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag, while he was a  student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA  PS1, the Walker Art Center, Jack Shainman Gallery, and Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, South Africa, and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim  Fellow and has also received fellowships from Open Society Foundations and United States Artists as well as a  Creative Capital grant.  In 2019 he presented Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community-engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in US history. The project was featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times,  Christiane Amanpour on CNN and highlighted by artnet.com as one of the most important artworks of the decade.

Art For Justice Fund was founded in 2017 by art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund to end mass incarceration in the United States and the racism that drives it. This initiative, which will conclude in 2023,  has already disbursed $90 million to radically reimagine and build a future of shared safety. To date, Art for  Justice has made grants to 200+ artists, advocates and organizations.



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