Seven Columbia Faculty and Alumni Awarded 2019 Guggenheim Fellowships

Zoe Contros Kearl
June 04, 2019

Seven Columbia faculty members and alumni were recently named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows. The list of awardees includes Poetry Professor Shane McCrae, Visual Arts Professors Suzanne McClelland and Mark Dion, Writing alumni Helen Schulman '86 and Catherine Lacey '10, and Visual Arts alumni Fabienne Lasserre '04 and Aki Sasamoto '07.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation offers Fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions. The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year. Approximately 175 Fellowships are awarded each year. Established in 1925, the Foundation has sought from its inception to “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding.”

Shane McCrae has published six books of poetry: MuleBloodForgiveness ForgivenessThe Animal Too Big to KillIn the Language of My Captor, which won the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the William Carlos Williams Award, and The Gilded Auction Block. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize, and is the Poetry Editor for Image, and a Contributing Editor for West Branch. He now lives in New York City, and teaches at Columbia University.

Suzanne McClelland has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad. Her practice includes large-scale paintings, works on paper and books, often extracting fragments of speech or text from various political or cultural sources and exploring the social, symbolic and material possibilities that reside within language. McClelland has participated in the 1993 and 2014 Whitney Biennials and has been the subject of solo presentations at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Amy Smith-Stewart; The University of Virginia Museum of Art, curated by Jennifer Farrell; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris branch, curated by Thelma Golden. Her paintings are held in numerous public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Yale University Art Gallery, The Albright-Knox Gallery, and The Walker Art Center. She currently teaches as a Mentor in the Department of Visual Arts at Columbia University. She has been a faculty member in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts since 1997.

Mark Dion was born in 1961 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He initially studied at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford in Connecticut, which awarded him a BFA (1986) and honorary doctorate in 2002. From 1983 to 1984 he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and then the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program (1984-1985). He is an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University in the UK (2014), and has an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Ph.D.) from The Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia (2015). Dion has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001) The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucida Art Award (2008). He has had major exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum (2006); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2003); Tate Gallery, London (1999), and the British Museum of Natural History in London (2007). He lives with his wife and frequent collaborator Dana Sherwood in Copake, New York, is a faculty member at Columbia University, and works worldwide.

Helen Schulman writes novels, short stories, nonfiction, and screenplays. A life-long New Yorker, she attended Hunter College Elementary School and High School before graduating from the Bronx High School of Science. She received her B.A. with Distinction from Cornell University and her MFA from Columbia. Schulman’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in such places as Vanity FairTimeVogueGQ, the New York Times Book ReviewA Public Space, and The Paris Review. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated into many languages. She has been an Aspen Words Fellow (The Aspen Institute), a Sundance Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and has won a Pushcart Prize. She has taught in many conferences and universities, including Columbia, NYU, Emory, Bard College, Bread Loaf and the Tin House Writers Conference. She is presently the Fiction Chair at the MFA Program at The New School, where she is a tenured Professor of Writing.

Catherine Lacey was born in 1985 in Mississippi. In 2012 she earned a fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts for the manuscript of her first novel, Nobody Is Ever Missing. After the book's publication in 2014, she was given a Whiting Award and nominated for the NYPL's Young Lions Fiction Award. She was named one of Granta Magazine's Best American Novelists in 2017. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Harper's, The New YorkerTin HouseVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe New York Times, and Vogue. Her books have been translated into several languages. Her third novel, Pew, is forthcoming in 2020 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which has published all her fiction to date. She has served as the University of Montana's Kittredge Visiting Writer and the John & Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at The University of Mississippi. A graduate of Loyola University of New Orleans and Columbia University, she now lives in Chicago with her partner, the novelist Jesse Ball.

Fabienne Lasserre’s work has been deeply indebted to feminist thought. Educated at Concordia University in Montreal (B.F.A., 1996) and Columbia University, New York (M.F.A., 2004), Lasserre lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has been a full-time faculty member at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) since 2007. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. Recent solo projects include Make Room for Space (2018, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY); Les Larmes (2018, Parisian Laundry Gallery, Montreal); and C.Ar.D in città (2015, Palazzo Costa Tretenerro, Piacenza, Italy). Her work was shown in several 2-person exhibits, amongst which The Nervous Hand (2018, 315 Gallery, New York) and Fabienne Lasserre and Annette Wehrhahn (2016, Safe Gallery, New York). Some group exhibits featuring her work have been: Feed the Meter (2017, Ceysson de Bénétière, Luxembourg); Outside the Lines (2013, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX), Saber Desconocer, (2013, Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia), and La Triennale québécoise, (2011, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal). In 2017, she was awarded the Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship to produce two outdoor sculptures for the grounds of St-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire. In 2016-17, she received a Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program award. In 2013 and 2014, she was the recipient of two Project Grants to Visual Artists from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Aki Sasamoto works in sculpture, performance, and video. Her works appear in gallery spaces, theater spaces, as well as in odd sites. Her installation/performance works were shown at SculptureCenter, the Kitchen, Chocolate Factory Theater, Whitney Biennial 2010, Greater New York 2010 at MOMA-PS1, New York; National Museum of Art-Osaka, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Yokohama Triennale 2008, Japan; Gwangju Biennial 2012, South Korea; Shanghai Biennale 2016, China; Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, India; and numerous other international and domestic venues. Sasamoto has received grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The New York Community Trust, The Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government, and more. She is an Assistant Professor at Yale School of Art, Sculpture Department.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Guggenheim Fellows!