Brendan Gill Prize


The Brendan Gill Prize

The Brendan Gill Prize, endowed to permit a cash award, is given each year to the creator of a specific work—a book, essay, musical composition, play, painting, sculpture, architectural design, film or choreographic piece—that best captures the spirit and energy of New York City. Whether the nominated individual or group is well known or just emerging, the goal of the Gill Prize is to draw attention to the varieties of artistic experience that enrich our contemporary life.

Brendan Gill PrizeThe prize was established in 1987 in honor of Brendan Gill by friend and fellow MAS board member Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis along with board members Helen Tucker and Margot Wellington. The selection of the winner is made by the Brendan Gill jury, an esteemed group of people intimately involved in the arts and culture of the city.

Kara Walker Selected for the 2015 Brendan Gill Prize

MAS is delighted to announce that artist Kara Walker has been named the honoree of the 2015 Brendan Gill Prize. The Gill Prize, dedicated to renowned New Yorker theater critic and former MAS President Brendan Gill (1914-1997), was established in 1986 to be given annually for a work of art that embodies the spirit of New York City.

For two summer months in 2014, Kara Walker turned a ruin from New York’s industrial past into a vast gallery of collective memory. Organized by Creative Time, Walker’s grand-scale public art installation at the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg, inspired audiences to consider an important and painful history and be inspired by a great ephemeral work of art.


Phyllis Samitz Cohen
Director of Adopt-A-Monument / Mural Programs
212-935-3960 x224

Past Winners of the Brendan Gill Prize

Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic, The New York Times

Louis Kahn (posthumously), architect, Four Freedoms Park

John Morse, artist, Curbside Haiku

Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Mike and Doug Starn, artists See it change, see it split

Sufjan Stevens, musician, The BQE

Sarah Jones, actress and playwright, Bridge & Tunnel


Christo and Jeanne-Claude, artists, The Gates, Central Park

Yoshio Taniguchi, architect, The new Museum of Modern Art

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author, Random Family
Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan, authors, Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America

The creative team that conceptualized the Tribute in Light memorial

Tod Williams & Billie Tsien, architects, American Folk Art Museum
Alice Rose George, Gilles Peress, Michael Shulan & Charles Traub, creators, Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs

Christopher Wheeldon, choreographer, Mercurial Manoeuvres
*MTA Arts for Transit, mosaic, For Want of a Nail, West 81st Street station

Maureen Hackett, landscape designer, Redesign of Herald and Greeley Square Parks
*Allison Prete, filmmaker, Lavender Lake: Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal
*John Kuo Wei Tchen, author, New York Before Chinatown

Edwin G. Burrows & Mike Wallace, authors, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Frederick Fisher, architect, Remodeling of P.S. 1
*Susan Tunick & Peter Mauss, authors, Terra-Cotta Skyline
*Milo Mottola, artist, Riverbank State Park Carousel
*Phillip Lopate, author, Writing New York: A Literary Anthology

George C. Wolfe, director, Savion Glover, choreographer, Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk

Hugh Hardy, architect, Restoration of The New Victory Theater

Louis Malle, screen director, André Gregory, stage director, Vanya on 42nd Street

Ang Lee, director, The Wedding Banquet

Joseph Mitchell, author, Up in the Old Hotel

John Yau & Bill Barrette, authors, Big City Primer: Reading New York at the End of the Twentieth Century

David Hammons, sculptor, High Falutin’

Gran Fury, AIDS activist collective, Bus poster, Kissing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indifference Do

Rudolph Burckhardt, filmmaker, MoMA retrospective on his films

Kevin Roche, architect, Redesign of Central Park Zoo

* Denotes Honorable Mention

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