Michael Smith was named the winner of the Visual Arts prize for subversively using the visual languages of popular and corporate culture to take on big issues, for pioneering narrative within video art practice, and for rendering the everyday as truly strange. The judges appreciate his having taken on the role of picaresque hero moving through the world as a Charlie Chaplin of the late 20th century.
The 18th annual Alpert Award, initiated and brought to life by The Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), was awarded to five exceptional mid-career artists. The award recognizes past performance and future promise to artists working in Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. Herb Alpert, the legendary musician and artist who created the Herb Alpert Foundation with his wife Lani Hall and gave the first Alpert Award in the Arts in 1995, says, "All of this year's winners represent the essence of the Alpert Award. They take aesthetic, intellectual and political risks, and challenge worn-out conventions. They're unafraid of the unknown."
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