2023 Brendan Gill Prize Ceremony

Join us on Tuesday, September 26 for a night of celebration, conversation, and stunning views of New York Harbor, to honor the 2023 Brendan Gill Prize awardee, conceptual artist Charles Gaines, for his 2022 public art project The American Manifest: Chapter 1

The celebration will take place at The View at The Battery in Manhattan. As part of the festivities, Gaines and members of the Brendan Gill Prize Jury will participate in an engaging conversation about the project, his process, and influences. Complimentary refreshments and light bites will be served.

Watch a recording of the program here.

About The American Manifest
Unfolding in three parts the work features both performance and large-scale sculptural works to tell the complicated story of the over 400-year settlement of the United States, focusing on the country’s foundations of colonialism, racial capitalism, democracy, and the legacy of Manifest Destiny.

The American Manifest: Chapter 1 opened July of 2022 in Times Square with a live performance of Gaines’s Manifestos 4: The Dred and Harriet Scott Decision and the sculptural installation, Roots.

Learn More about The American Manifest: Chapter 1 >

The American Manifest is presented by Creative Time, Governors Island Arts, and Times Square Arts

Tuesday, September 26
6:30 PM — 8:30 PM

The View at the Battery
1 Battery Place
New York, NY 10004

Member: $15
Non-member: $25

  • 2023 Brendan Gill Prize Ceremony.
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  • 2023 Brendan Gill Prize Winner: Charles Gaines for "The American Manifest: Chapter 1." Times Square, New York NY, presented by Creative Time. © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Times Square Arts. Photo: Michael Hull.
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  • Charles Gaines © Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.
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  • Charles Gaines, Roots, Times Square, New York NY, presented by Creative Time. © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Times Square Arts. Photo: Michael Hull.
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About the Honoree

Charles Gaines, Artist

A pivotal figure in the field of conceptual art, Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create a series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualism today.

Born in 1944 in Charleston, South Carolina, Gaines began his career as a painter, earning his M.F.A. from the School of Art and Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1967. In the 1970s, Gaines’s art shifted dramatically in response to what he would later call ‘the awakening.’ Gaines’s epiphany materialized in a series called Regression (1973 — 1974), in which he explored the use of mathematical and numeric systems to create soft, numbered marks in ink on a grid, with each drawing built upon the calculations of the last. This methodical approach would carry the artist into the subsequent decades of his artistic journey.

Working both within the system and against it, Gaines points to the tensions between the empirical objective and the viewers’ subjective response. The concept of identity politics has played a central role within Gaines’s oeuvre, and the radical approach he employs addresses issues of race in ways that transcend the limits of representation.

Gaines lives and works in Los Angeles. He recently retired from the CalArts School of Art, where he was on faculty for over 30 years and established a fellowship to provide critical scholarship support for Black students in the M.F.A. program. Gaines has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and around the world, most notably at Dia Beacon, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

About the Brendan Gill Prize

The Brendan Gill 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 Prize 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. Past winners include Ang Lee, Louis Malle, Sufjan Stevens, Kara Walker, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among many other prestigious awardees.

Learn more about the Brendan Gill Prize >

Brendan Gill Prize Jury

  • John Haworth, (Brendan Gill Prize Jury Chair), Senior Executive Emeritus, National Museum of the American Indian/NY, Smithsonian Institution
  • Randall Bourscheidt, Director, Archive of New York City Cultural Policy
  • Roz Chast, Cartoonist, The New Yorker
  • Patricia Cruz, Artistic Director and CEO, Harlem Stage
  • Gail Gregg, Artist and Journalist
  • Cassim Shepard, Urbanist, Filmmaker, and Author
  • Laurie Beckelman, Not-for-profit Consultant
Watch the above video to learn more about our 2023 Brendan Gill Prize awardee, conceptual artist Charles Gaines and his 2022 public art project The American Manifest: Chapter 1.