The Dorner Prize is an annual juried competition that invites RISD student artists and designers to create new installations, performances, programs, or digital encounters that engage the public by using the RISD Museum’s spaces, objects, and digital platforms. Dorner Prize projects examine, critique, or respond to the collections, architectural idiosyncrasies, habits of visitation, and/or web presence of the Museum, encouraging further conceptual interpretation and lively discussion.
First established in 1995 as Sitings, the Dorner Prize was renamed in 2016. Dorner Prize winners work closely with museum professionals during each phase of the process, and their projects are exhibited in the Museum and online. One or two projects are selected each year.
This year’s Dorner Prize was awarded to two projects. The first is to Cameron Kucera (RISD BArch 2019, Architecture), Makoto Moses Kumasaka (RISD BFA 2018, Furniture), and Vuthy Lay (RISD BArch 2019, Architecture) for White Wall, installed on the Museum’s façade on Benefit Street. The second award is for Nafis White’s (RISD MFA 2018, Printmaking) and García Sinclair’s (RISD MFA 2018, Printmaking) for their performance Strand, on view Tuesday, April 27, through Sunday, May 7, 2017.
Cameron Kucera Caucasian American, b. 1995 (RISD BArch 2019, Architecture) Vuthy Lay Khmer American, b. 1996 (RISD BArch 2019, Architecture) Makoto Moses Kumasaka Hafu American, b. 1996 (RISD BFA 2018, Furniture) White Wall, 2017 Bamboo, paint, cable ties, galvanized steel fasteners
White Wall, a winning entry for the Dorner Prize 2017, is a bamboo screen and performance space that formalizes the invisible socioeconomic obstructions to museum accessibility. This piece seeks to take the architectural conditions of the Radeke Building and redefine them as a platform for discussion, demonstration, and contact. Intervention art as well as institutional critique, this project is offered by the artists as a scaffolding for others to join the conversation.
Nafis White (RISD MFA 2018, Printmaking) American, b. 1977 García Sinclair (RISD MFA 2018, Printmaking) American, b. 1975 Strand, 2017 Synthetic hair, pony beads, shells gathered from Rhode Island beaches, cowry shells, meditations on and affirmations of Black beauty
Strand focuses on the 400-year history of slavery and resulting civil rights movements in the United States, and more specifically within Rhode Island. A performative work and an installation, Strand weaves together traditions of hair braiding, twisting, and decoration within the Black community with unapologetic, continuous accounts of horrific catastrophe and audacious triumph. In honoring centuries of Black beauty through the performative, Strand purposefully affirms and centers the marginalized, in rather strong contrast to most of the histories represented in the surrounding works of art.
Named in honor of pioneering art educator Alexander Dorner, the RISD Museum’s director from 1938 to 1941, the Dorner Prize is made possible by a generous anonymous gift. This year’s jurors were Dominic Molon, the Museum’s Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, and Eduardo Duarte, associate professor of interior architecture at RISD.