Alex J. Taylor Receives Second Annual Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize

April 21, 2011
News Release

Alex J. Taylor has been awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s 2011 Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize. Taylor’s winning essay “Unstable Motives: Propaganda, Politics and the Late Work of Alexander Calder” focuses on Calder’s late-career mobiles and stabiles, made from the 1950s until his death in 1976, and explores the contradictory ideologies that Calder’s abstraction could serve. The essay will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of the museum’s journal American Art (vol. 26, no. 1).

Taylor is the second winner of the $500 prize, which recognizes excellent research and writing by a scholar in the field of American art history based outside the United States. The annual award, established in 2009, supports essays that advance the understanding of historical American art and demonstrate new findings and original perspectives.

“I am grateful to the Terra Foundation for its continued support of excellence and scholarship and for its vision that encourages looking at American art from an international perspective,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Each year, a four-member international review panel evaluates essays submitted for the prize following a call for papers. The 2011 reviewers are Michael Hatt, professor of art history at the University of Warwick in Britain; Ursula Frohne, professor of art history at the Universität zu Köln in Cologne, Germany; Eric de Chassey, director of the Académie de France à Rome, in Rome; and Rebecca Zurier, associate professor of the history of art and faculty associate in the program in American culture at the University of Michigan. The final decision is made from among the panel’s top-ranked candidates by American Art’s executive editor in consultation with its editorial board.

Taylor, who is an Australian citizen, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. Taylor has published extensively on Australian art, including writing Perils of the Studio: Inside the Artistic Affairs of Bohemian Melbourne (Australian Scholarly Publishing in association with the State Library of Victoria, 2007) and contributing a chapter titled“Wolseley’s Lines” to Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia (Miegunyah Press-Melbourne University Publishing2009).

The deadline for submissions for the 2012 prize is Jan. 15, 2012; additional information is online at

The museum’s research programs include fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral scholars, extensive photographic collections documenting American art and artists, and unparalleled art research databases. An active publications program of books, catalogs and the journal American Art complements the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs. Information about subscribing, purchasing single issues or submitting articles to American Art, which is published by the University of Chicago Press, is available at

The prize is supported by funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Terra Foundation also supports fellowships at the museum for predoctoral, postdoctoral and senior scholars as well as the Terra Symposia on American Art in a Global Context.“‘Encuentros’: Artistic Exchange between the U.S. and Latin America,” the third of five in the series, will take place Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 in the museum’s McEvoy Auditorium.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, ArtBabble, iTunes and YouTube. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000; (202) 633-5285 (TTY). Website:

About the Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $250 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945 and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art and devotes approximately $12 million annually in support of American art exhibitions, projects and research worldwide. For more information visit the Terra Foundation website at

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Laura Baptiste

(202) 633-8494