For immediate release April 8, 2015 2015 Fellows—United States and Canada In its ninety-first competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 173 Fellowships (including two joint Fellowships) to a diverse group of 175 scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of over 3,100 applicants. The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the most unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, fifty-one disciplines, sixty-three different academic institutions, twenty-three states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces are represented by this year’s Fellows, who range in age from twentynine to eighty-three. Sixty-nine Fellows have no academic affiliation or hold adjunct or parttime positions at universities. As in past years, the Leon Levy Foundation is providing supplemental support for Fellows with no formal academic affiliation. In addition, the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation is underwriting the Fellowship in Constitutional Studies. Edward Hirsch, president of the Foundation, is enthusiastic about the Fellows in the class of 2015: “It’s exciting to name 175 new Guggenheim Fellows. These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best. Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has always bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue the tradition with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.” Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted over $325 million in Fellowships to almost 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poets laureate, as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, and other important, internationally recognized honors. During this time of decreased funding for individuals in the arts, humanities, and sciences, the opportunities created by the Guggenheim Fellowship program are increasingly important. New and continuing donations from friends, Trustees, former Fellows, and other foundations have ensured that the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will be able to continue the mission Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim set for it: to “promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding and the appreciation of beauty, by aiding without distinction on account of race, color or creed, scholars, scientists and artists of either sex in the prosecution of their labors.” For more information on the Fellows and their projects, please visit the Foundation’s website at http://www.gf.org.
In this book, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the intersection of art, risk, and creativity in early African arts from the Yoruba center of Ife and the striking ways that ancient Ife artworks inform society, politics, history, and religion. Yoruba art offers a unique lens into one of Africa's most important and least understood early civilizations, one whose historic arts have long been of interest to local residents and Westerners alike because of their tour-de-force visual power and technical complexity. Among the complementary subjects explored are questions of art making, art viewing, and aesthetics in the famed ancient Nigerian city-state, as well as the attendant risks and danger assumed by artists, patrons, and viewers alike in certain forms of subject matter and modes of portrayal, including unique genres of body marking, portraiture, animal symbolism, and regalia. This volume celebrates art, history, and the shared passion and skill with which the remarkable artists of early Ife sought to define their past for generations of viewers.