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MacArthur Profile
ICA Installation

Sculptor Judy Pfaff Named a 2004 MacArthur Fellow

Judy Pfaff
Judy Pfaff

- Yaddo artist Judy Pfaff is one of 23 individuals named MacArthur Fellows for 2004, it was announced Tuesday in Chicago.

Ms. Pfaff, who has twice been a guest at Yaddo, is a sculptor, installation artist, painter, and printmaker who has worked with a wide and unusual range of materials in a quest to blur the traditional distinctions between painting and sculpture. Although Ms. Pfaff is primarily a sculptor, her large-scale and mostly site-specific installations incorporate local materials and combine painting, sculpture, and architecture.

ICA: Institute of Contemporary Art
Installation Views. Photos by Aaron Igler.

Like Yaddo, The MacArthur Fellows Program – sponsored by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – emphasizes the importance of the creative individual in society. Nominees are reviewed for their achievements, but the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishments. It is an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. In line with that goal, in 1990 the foundation established an endowed residency at Yaddo to annually support the visits of two creative artists working in any discipline. Most recently, choreographer Kyle deCamp and fiction writer Jayne Ann Phillips held the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Residencies at Yaddo.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent in a variety of fields to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional goals. Each MacArthur Fellow receives a $500,000 five-year grant. There are no restrictions on how recipients may use the money and no follow-up reports are required. Winners are selected on the basis of originality, dedication, and a capacity for self-direction.

Ms. Pfaff received a BFA from Washington University and an MFA from Yale University. Since 1971, she has held numerous visiting faculty appointments at such institutions as the California Institute of Arts, Yale University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Oberlin College, and Princeton University. She was a member of the graduate faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1986 to 1991 and a professor of visual arts at Columbia University from 1992 to 1994. Since 1994, she has been a professor of art at Bard College. Her work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions and installations and she has participated in more than 200 group shows. Ms. Pfaff’s work appears in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York.