School of the Arts professors Corin Hewitt and Stephen Vitiello have been named recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowship, one of the top honors available for artists in the United States. It is highly unusual for two artists from the same institution to receive this honor at the same time. Both Hewitt and Vitiello received the award in the category of Fine Arts, of which there were only 19 in total.
Hewitt is an assistant professor in the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media at VCU, and Vitiello is an associate professor in the Department of Kinetic Imaging. With the awards to Hewitt and Vitiello, VCU alumni and professors now have received a combined eight Guggenheim Fellowships since 2002, including seven to artists with connections to the VCU School of the Arts.
Previous recipients with VCU ties include Elizabeth King, a professor of sculpture (2002); Teresita Fernandez (2003) and Bonnie Collura (2005), both alumni of the sculpture department; Hilary Wilder, assistant professor in the Department of Painting and Printmaking (2006); Michael Jones McKean, assistant professor of sculpture (2010); and David Wojahn, professor of English (2003).
Hewitt, who also recently received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, another one of the art world’s top awards, is a sculptor whose work centers on setting up cultural questions in arranged spaces and then examining those questions in a variety of ways. Hewitt’s work has appeared in such venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Seattle Art Museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Norway, the Wanas Foundation in Sweden and through the Public Art Fund in a public installation in Brooklyn.
Vitiello is an electronic musician and sound artist whose work has been showcased at outdoor installations, galleries and other venues around the world. His work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at the Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, Australia; the High Line in New York City; Museum 52 in London; the Project in New York City; and Galerie Almine Rech in Paris. Among the group exhibitions that have included his work in the past are the Bienale of Sydney and the Whitney Biennial.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 180 fellowships this month to artists, scientists and scholars. The foundation received approximately 3,000 applications for the awards. Fellows receive grants of varying amounts that provide financial support for a period of between six and 12 months. The financial awards are intended to allow fellows to work with as much creative freedom as possible. Fellowships are awarded to men and women who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.
* Images > Stephen Vitiello (left) by Paul Green, Corin Hewitt (right) by Amanda Sanfilippo