Jamal Cyrus Wins BMW Art Journey Prize | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Jamal Cyrus Wins BMW Art Journey Prize

BMW Art Journey winner Jamal Cyrus
(Courtesy: Art Basel)

Art Basel and BMW have selected Jamal Cyrus as the next BMW Art Journey winner, the fair announced. The international jury unanimously selected the artist from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Positions sector of last year’s Art Basel fair in Miami Beach.

Cyrus will engage in interviews with artists, musicians, historians and philosophers in Spain and Ghana, among other places. “The journey promises to be a transformational process involving travel, dialogue, collective imagination and intuitive response that will allow new ideas to surface in my work,” Cyrus said.

Talking about the artist’s work, the five-member jury said, “Jamal Cyrus BMW Art Journey delineates an imaginary geography that transforms relations of power and imposed hierarchies. His journey combines elements of directed research and open-ended discovery, all within a deeply considered theoretical framework. His project struck us as a profound and sincere search for an understanding of the self, through the artistic lens of an individual who never forgets his role as a teacher, and who therefore foresees the multiplying effect of his experience. Cyrus’ BMW Art Journey will expand and amplify a practice that has already brought much to the conversation around culture, history and identity in the United States.”

Cyrus won the award based on “STANDARDZENBLUZ II,” a work he showcased at Inman gallery last year at Art Basel in Miami Beach.  The imagery he created was sampled from concert posters, record covers, Jet magazine, and the interior of a record store in Tokyo. That show was, in his own words, “an intercontinental and multinational geography describing the circulation of ideas between Africa, Europe, and the Americas.”  

Born in 1973 in Houston, Texas, Cyrus received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. He works in collage, assemblage and other techniques to explore the cultural politics of Black American music and culture. Cyrus’ solo and group exhibitions include Inman Gallery, Houston, MOCAD Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and ICA Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia.

Launched in 2015, the BMW Art Journey is a collaboration between Art Basel and BMW, created to recognize and support emerging artists worldwide. This unique award is for artists who are exhibiting in the Discoveries sector during Art Basel in Hong Kong. A judging panel consisting of internationally renowned experts meet first to select a shortlist of three artists from the sector, who are then invited to submit proposals for a journey aimed to further develop their ideas and artistic work. The jury reconvenes to choose a winner from the three proposals.


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