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Philip Roth Yaddo Artist Medal Honoree

- We are pleased to announce that the inaugural Yaddo Artist Medal will be presented to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth.

Philip Roth

Roth is set to receive the medal, designed by the award-winning Yaddo artist James Siena, at our annual New York City Benefit on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.  He will be introduced by fellow Yaddo artist Alison Lurie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Foreign Affairs and the 2012-2014 New York State Author.

“It's a great pleasure for us to begin a new tradition by presenting Philip Roth with the inaugural Yaddo Artist Medal,” said Yaddo President Elaina Richardson.  “It's long been our custom to award a medal for achievement and service to two graduating seniors at Saratoga High, and we'd wanted for some time to expand on that tradition in a way that reflected our core history, and century-long commitment, to encouraging, supporting, and inspiring the work of artists and writers. The Yaddo Artist Medal will be awarded annually at our New York City benefit to an artist of outstanding talent whose achievements and commitment to their field exemplifies Yaddo's own tradition of  excellence and community. In this way, we hope to pay tribute to all the artists who have been part of the Yaddo story since our founding in 1900.”

The Yaddo Artist Medal is being produced by Walla Walla Foundry in Walla Walla, Washington. The process began by creating a 3D model based on designs submitted by Siena. A combination of machining, etching, and hand finishing is being used to fabricate the medal to achieve the highest possible level of detail in the finished piece.

In addition to the artist honoree Roth, The New York Racing Association, Inc., will be recognized as our corporate honoree at the May 14th event. The Co-Chairs for the event are Theresa and John Behrendt, Michael Del Giudice and Jaynne C. Keyes, the Honorable and Mrs. Earle I. Mack, the Riggio Foundation and Charles and Candace Wait. Blair Brown, Gail Gregg, Mary-Beth Hughes, and Patricia Volk serve as the Yaddo Benefit Committee. Tables and individual tickets are available now.

Roth had his first residency at Yaddo in 1964, returning six times over the next eight years. During those visits, Roth wrote most of Portnoy’s Complaint, The Breast, and The Great American Novel. He dedicated The Breast to Yaddo as “the best friend a writer could have.” One of the most decorated American writers of his era, Roth’s first book, the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus, won the National Book Award for Fiction. He has since received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Fiction. A two-time recipient of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Roth has been recognized with the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. Recently Roth received the National Humanities Medal at the White House and was named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. Last year France bestowed upon him its highest recognition, Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Siena is a New York-based artist whose complex, rule-based linear abstractions have situated him firmly within the trajectory of modern American art. His artwork is driven by self-imposed, predetermined sets of rules, or “visual algorithms,” which find their end-result in intensely concentrated, vibrantly-colored, freehand geometric patterns. Siena works across a diverse range of media, including lithography, etching, woodcuts, engraving, drawing, and painting. He has been featured in over 100 solo and group exhibitions since 1981, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. His work is part of many prestigious public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Siena was elected an Academician at The National Academy in 2011 and was inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000. His many accolades also include the Eissner Artist of the Year Award from the Cornell Council for the Arts at Cornell University Award (2009). He received his BFA from Cornell in 1979. Siena was a guest artist at Yaddo in both 2004 and 2007. He was elected to membership in 2005 and then to the Board of Directors in 2011. For more than 10 years, Siena has lectured and taught at art institutions throughout the country. He has been represented by Pace Gallery since 2004.