Local artists win prestigious award | Blogh

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Local artists win prestigious award

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Congratulations to Vanessa German and Bill Shannon, the two Pittsburgh-based artists who were just announced as United States Artists Fellows for 2018.

Local artists win prestigious award (2)
Bill Shannon
The honor comes with an unrestricted $50,000 award and puts German, an awardee in the visual-arts category, and Shannon, honored in dance, in prestigious company. Other winners this year included trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard; composer Wayne Shorter; writer and podcaster Starlee Kine; playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney; and multidisciplinary artist Dread Scott.

German, known for her "power figures" — doll-like sculptures adorned with elaborate arrays of found objects — is also a performance artist well known for her spoken-word work addressing racism and social justice. A great example of her visual art work, sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies, is currently on display at the Mattress Factory.

Here's a long-form profile I wrote about her in 2010. And here's a review of her work we ran in 2015.

click to enlarge Local artists win prestigious award
CP photo by Heather Mull
Vanessa German
Shannon, though awarded in dance, is a multidisciplinary artist who often incorporates video and sculpture into his work. Earlier in his career, when he did a lot of street dance, he was known as Crutchmaster; distinctively, he dances on crutches because of a degenerative hip condition. Here's a profile of him I wrote in 2007, the year after he moved back to Pittsburgh.

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