Columbia University School of the Arts Visual Arts Program Professor Rirkrit Tiravanija received the second annual Absolut Art Award at a ceremony and dinner in Stockholm on November 4. The award is a prize instituted by Absolut Vodka to celebrate artists challenging conventions through the integration of art forms.
The jury was chaired by Centre Pompidou Chief Curator Christine Macel, and also included Daniel Birnbaum, Keren Cytter (winner of the prize in 2009), Thomas Nordanstad, Anna Malmhake and Göran Lundqvist. The jury's citation read, "Rirkrit Tiravanija is awarded the Absolut Art Award 2010 for his ability to rule our conventional categorization. Tiravanija's expressive world is one of hospitality and generosity. Through social events, cooking, sharing and architectural environments, often reflecting on art, Rirkirt humbly invites the audience to interact."
The day after receiving the award, Tiravanija and his entourage did a cook-out performance at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The performance, titled “Je ne travaille jamais," was part of the welcome party celebrating Daniel Birnbaum’s first week as Director of Moderna Museet. During his stay in Stockholm, Tiravanija also gave a lecture at the new venue Atelier.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1961, the Thai artist Tiravanija is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His work defies media-based description, as his practice combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action; it is sometimes referred to as relational art. As Tiravanija himself stated, "It is not what you see that is important but what takes place between people."
“Absolut Art Award rewards today’s most new-thinking artistry, and Tiravanija’s social sculpturing definitely puts him at the forefront of contemporary culture," said jury member Malmhake.
Tiravanija will be part of the jury for next year's prize.