Art Matters Now — 12 Writers on 20 Years of Art

Two images side by side, overlaid with a bright red. The one on the left shows a couple looking up at a utility pole; the one on the right shows two adults standing in a shallow bank, each carrying an adult in their arms, with a canoe full of people behind them.
STORM 1 by Gaye Chan, 2002–2006, chromogenic prints. Image courtesy of the artist.

Creative Capital has always focused on helping artists make their most ambitious work a reality, providing support and resources for realizing their creative visions and achieving long-term success, however each artist defines it. That means that since Creative Capital was founded in 1999, we have advocated for two decades’ worth of artistic work with a fierce commitment to freedom of expression. It’s been no small feat—through the Creative Capital Award, we have given over $45 million dedicated to 561 projects by 700 artists across the country.

With that in mind, Creative Capital has invited 12 Arts Writers grantees to explore key moments in the history of the Creative Capital Award in celebration of our 20th anniversary. The essays include a variety of voices and subjects, looking at many of the projects we have supported that proved groundbreaking and prescient, reflecting and responding to a world in a constant state of flux. Creative Capital is pleased to partner with Los Angeles Review of Books who will publish these essays once a month.

Leah Gilliam's multimedia project, AGENDA FOR A LANDSCAPEJohanna Fateman on the Founding of Creative Capital
Johanna Fateman, writer and awardee, begins with a look at the year 2000, the significance of the launch of Creative Capital, what it meant for avant-garde artists who were making “unmarketable” work in a country that was hesitant to support them.

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a black and white image of an incarcerated individual, from Dread Scott's project LOCKDOWNEunsong Kim on the Colonial Inheritance of 2001
Eunsong Kim writes about 2001 awardees, Dread Scott and Gaye Chan—two artists who sought to redefine how we see the dispossessed, including incarcerated individuals and Hawai’i indigenous peoples. These are narratives we recognize today, but, as Kim writes, were new in 2001 when the media was more concerned with the war on terror.

Read the essay