Two African American Scholars Awarded the Berlin Prize

The American Academy in Berlin has announced the fall 2019 and spring 2020 recipients of the Berlin Prize. The annual awards are presented to United States scholars, writers, composers, and artists who represent the highest standard of excellence in their field. The recipients will be provided with a semester-long fellowship in Berlin where they will be provided with the time and resources to step back from their daily obligations to engage in academic and artistic projects they might not otherwise pursue.

This year, three out of the 20 Berlin Prize winners are African Americans; two have current academic affiliations.

Kevin Jerome Everson is a professor of art in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia. During his spring 2020 fellowship, he will continue his work in making films that combine scripted and documentary moments in the lives of working-class African Americans and other people of African descent. Rather than deploying a standard documentary realism, he favors a strategy that abstracts everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures, in which archival footage is re-edited or re-staged, and in which real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives.

Professor Everson holds a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Akron and a master of fine arts degree from Ohio University.

Renee Green is a professor in the program in art, culture, and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her fall 2019 fellowship, she will work on a film based on her research on Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the Casa Curutchet in La Plata, Argentina. The two buildings are the only structures that famed architect Le Corbuiser built in the Americas. The film addresses conditions of residency and displacement, subjective experience, institutional memory, notions of progress, architectural modernism, and the inevitability of decay, all the while rethinking how time is marked.

Professor Green is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

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