Alumni and Faculty Inducted into the Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2020

Audrey Deng
May 06, 2020

On April 23, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences announced its newest members of 2020. Among the 276 artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders inducted include Columbia University’s Visual Arts Professor Sarah Sze and Writing alumna Claudia Rankine ’93.

Sze presently lives and works in New York. She received a BA from Yale University in Connecticut in 1991 and an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1997. She is a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. Sze represented the United States at the 55th Venice Biennale with a solo pavilion presentation entitled Triple Point. Sze’s sculptures, installations and works on paper have also been exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Haus Der Kunst in Munich, Copenhagen Contemporary in Copenhagen, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, as part of the 1999 Carnegie International. Sze was recently commissioned for the Public Art Fund Exhibition at Laguardia Airport.

Rankine earned a BA from Williams College and an MFA from Columbia University. She has published several collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric (2014), Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (2004), and Nothing in Nature is Private (1994). Her books have won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the PEN Center USA Poetry Award, among others. Most recently, she wrote the play White Card for the Shed. She is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow.

Rankine and Sze join the company of Academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton in the eighteenth century; Ralph Waldo Emerson and Maria Mitchell in the nineteenth; Robert Frost, Martha Graham, Margaret Mead, Milton Friedman, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the twentieth; and – in the past two decades – Antonin Scalia, Michael Bloomberg, John Lithgow, Judy Woodruff, and Bryan Stevenson.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said Academy President David W. Oxtoby. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”