The Contemporary Austin is pleased to announce the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, a biennial, unrestricted award of $100,000 to be given to an artist selected every two years, which will also include a solo exhibition and scholarly publication. An independent advisory committee comprising renowned curators and art historians will select the recipient.
The Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize is funded by a generous gift to the museum by arts professional and museum trustee Suzanne Deal Booth and administered by The Contemporary Austin. In addition to the award, the prize funds a solo exhibition for the recipient, along with an accompanying publication and related public programming at The Contemporary Austin. The exhibition will be on view at the museum’s downtown venue, the Jones Center, with the option to also be shown at the museum’s outdoor site, the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Read more
Blank canvas: Suzanne Deal Booth’s career has spanned the globe and art world alike. An art historian, conservationist, and philanthropist, the native Texan serves on a number of museum boards and is co-founder of the Friends of Heritage Preservation.
Mentor musings: She tributes her longtime mentor, art collector and philanthropist Dominique de Menil of Houston’s Menil Collection, for her love of classic and eclectic culture. “There were objects from all different centuries that she would pull together, like a puzzle, and tell a story in a room,” says Booth.
Magnum opus: Since settling here nine years ago, Booth has been investing in Austin’s visual art scene. Her latest endowment, in association with The Contemporary Austin, is the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize: a biennial award of $100,000 and a solo exhibit to an artist of any age. “The arts are a critical part of what determines who we are and how we address our history,” she says. “There’s room in Austin to encourage the next step: an enlightened cultural environment.”
Suzanne Deal Booth. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.
Like one of the collecting areas she favors, Suzanne Deal Booth is a Renaissance woman. She’s also a bit of anomaly in the contemporary arena, so much so that when this Texas- and California-based philanthropist spoke at Frieze in 2014, they coined a special category for her—crossover collector.
“I see the similarities between those areas—the Renaissance and contemporary,” says Deal Booth. “Especially regarding my own collection, focused upon the ephemeral and meditative,” she says. Deal Booth might be the only person on the planet who groups works by James Turrell, Doug Aitken, Robert Irwin and Roni Horn with her most recent acquisition—“a gold-ground painting from a French Book of Hours, circa 1410.” She also has a 27-acre vineyard in Napa for her Booth Bella Oaks wine label, with outdoor installations by Irwin, Joel Shapiro, Yayoi Kusama and Max Ernst. “No advisors. It’s just me,” she says, relying upon an eye honed long ago under the tutelage of Dominique de Menil.
When we spoke, she’d just returned to Austin from a West Coast trip, conducting a board meeting for Friends of Heritage Preservation. She co-founded the nonprofit nearly 20 years ago to save cultural treasures and restore artworks—including a current project rescuing Napoleon’s floating gardens and tea house in Venice. These endeavors are sparked by her master’s degree from NYU in conservation and art history, and subsequent stints for institutions such as The Getty and the Kimbell Art Museum. Read more