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Acclaimed Visual Artist Nam June Paik to Recieve Edward MacDowell Medal on Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Colony grounds and artist studios are open to the public for the daylong festivities and celebration.

The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s leading artist colony, will present its Edward MacDowell Medal this year to legendary visual artist Nam June Paik. He will be the 45th recipient of the MacDowell Medal. The Medal is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the arts. Mr. Paik joins an impressive list of past recipients, including Edward Hopper, Joan Didion, Merce Cunningham, and Leonard Bernstein.

The award will be presented to Mr. Paik in a public ceremony during the annual Medal Day celebration on Sunday, August 22, 2004, beginning at 12:15 pm on The MacDowell Colony grounds in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Robert MacNeil, chairman of The MacDowell Colony, will present the Medal along with Carter Wiseman, president of the board, and Cheryl Young, executive director.

Long considered the leader in video art, Nam June Paik has consistently used innovation to challenge art itself, and in turn, its audience. “Nam June Paik is the founding father of video art,” according to Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art and chairman of the 2004 Medal Selection Committee. “His influence on generations of artists and people across the globe has been enormous.” Other members of this year’s committee included Susan Sollins-Brown, director and producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series Art 21; painter Robert Mangold; Linda Shearer, director of the Williams College Museum of Art; and artist Lorna Simpson.

Born in 1932 in Korea, Mr. Paik has had a profound impact on the visual art world. In addition to being the first video artist selected for a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1982, he was chosen for the first show of the new millennium at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in January of 2000. He has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in Seoul, among many others. He received the Artist Award of New York, as well as the city’s Medal of Freedom Award, in 1996 and earned the Golden Lion Award for Best Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993. Mr. Paik’s inventiveness has led to collaborations with such artists as Merce Cunningham, Joseph Beuys, and David Bowie; early in his career, he was a member of a circle of artists known as Fluxus, a group that challenged the conventional notions of art in the 1960s. Though known primarily for his video work, Mr. Paik studied piano and composition and completed degrees in music as well as aesthetics in Japan before pursuing graduate work in philosophy. Some of his noteworthy experiments have occurred outside museums in radio and television, and he is reputed to have coined the terms “information superhighway” and “the future is now.”

“I used the term information superhighway in a study I wrote for the Rockefeller Foundation in 1974. I thought: If you create a highway, then people are going to invent cars. That’s dialectics. If you create electronic highways, something has to happen,” he explains. “Our life is half natural and half technological. Technology has become the body’s new membrane of existence. Yet if you make only high-tech, you make war. So we must have a strong human element to keep modesty and natural life.”

After the ceremony awarding the Medal to Mr. Paik, guests will enjoy picnic lunches and current MacDowell artists-in-residence will open their studios to the public from 2 pm until 4 pm. There is no charge to attend the ceremony or the open studios.

Since 1907, The MacDowell Colony has provided more than 5,500 artists of all disciplines with the time and private space for creative work; of these, 1,584 have been visual artists, including such notables as Milton Avery, Janet Fish, and Benny Andrews. Situated on 450 acres of woodland in Peterborough, New Hampshire, the Colony welcomes more than 240 composers, writers, architects, filmmakers, and visual and interdisciplinary artists from the United States and abroad each year. The sole criterion for acceptance is talent; a panel in each discipline selects Fellows. In 1997, The MacDowell Colony was awarded the National Medal of Arts for “nurturing and inspiring many of this century’s finest artists.”

For more information, please log on to or contact:
Brendan Tapley
Communications Director
The MacDowell Colony
100 High Street
Peterborough, New Hampshire 03458
603.924.9142 fax

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