contact name: Tom Riggle
13th Ave NE
Grainbelt Building #122
Minneapolis MN 55401-1549
open to public: no
Minneapolis MN 55401
The 181st Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art
May 11 - June 18, 2006
In its 181st year the National Academy continues to be a forum of innovation by offering its biennial non-member invitational exhibition. This year the Academy offers an outstanding selection of contemporary works by 124 of the finest American artists from across the country, bringing together emerging and established painters, sculptors, printmakers, installation artists, and architects. Included in this compelling exhibition are works by Lynda Benglis, Susanne Doremus, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Steven Holl, Susan Leopold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Alison Saar, Merrill Wagner, Alexi Worth and many others. The invitational format creates a multi-generational dialogue that addresses a range of issues central to contemporary art and society.
The National Academy continues to fulfill one of its original missions by implementing exhibitions of contemporary American art with the goal of previewing new artistic directions. Works of provocative political and social commentary are viewed along side ethereal abstractions, and narrative representational art, reflecting a multiplicity of contemporary styles. The work of established artists such as Pat Steir and Tom Nozkowski continue to reshape definitions of painting and can be seen alongside emerging artists such as Aaron Wexler, whose delicate anthropomorphic collages teeter on the edge of abstraction and newcomer Cordy Ryman's subtle wall installation that is reminiscent of minimalist ideals taken to the next level. Maren Hassinger's installation of mixed media and video addresses larger social issues and the biting political commentary of Enrique Chagoya's work create an exciting artistic discourse. Veteran sculptor John Chamberlain and upcoming installation artist Phong Bui continue to explore the vocabulary of three-dimensional abstraction while Kiki Smith's conceptual use of the human form challenges the traditional boundaries of figurative sculpture.
The Academy's process included hundreds of recommended submissions that were selected by a curatorial committee comprised of a panel of eight renowned National Academicians. A separate awards committee of National Academician's will also give away over $100,000 in prizes.
A catalogue written by art historian and Artist Membership Director, Nancy Malloy, including an essay on the history of the Annual Exhibition by Director, Annette Blaugrund, accompanies this exhibition, documenting trends, process, and media explored by the artist's who are participating and serves as an important resource.
181st An Annual Invitational of American Contemporary Artists
National Academy Museum
May 10th - June 18th
New York City, NY
Selected for the 2007 Florence Biennale
Dec 2007 Florence, Italy
Feb 2006 open gallery show
Group Show 2006
Art Chicago, Navy Pier
Group Show Apr 2006
181st An Annual Initational of American Contemporary Artists
National Academy Museum Catolog
Philosophy behind exhibition
The selection of work was made by a curatorial committee of National Academicians from hundreds of candidates from coast to coast. As a showcase for American art, the Annual continues to fulfill the original mission of its founders as a independently minded artist run organization. It has, for 181 years without interruption, exhibited works of its members alongside emerging and other established artists.
MCAD alumnus Tom Riggle (B.F.A. '01) was honored with inclusion in the National Academy's 181st Annual, the revered arts institution's showcase of America's premier contemporary artists.
Riggle, who lives and works in Minneapolis, is one of 124 established and emerging artists who were invited to participate in the juried show. His 2006 oil painting Bohemian Grove (pictured) was displayed at the National Academy Museum in New York late this spring alongside works by other Academy honorees, including John Chamberlain, Kiki Smith and Richard Saba (B.F.A. '68).
"It took me by surprise," said Riggle, who rubbed shoulders with the likes of actress Lucy Liu at the Academy show's opening, which drew more than 1,200 people. "I feel a bit like Cinderella."
To call this a Cinderella story isn't much of an exaggeration. Tom, a painting major, entered a day-job existence after graduation, but kept making pen drawings in his spare time. He eventually began creating large-scale charcoal drawings, which inspired him to return to painting about a year ago.
Even though he has no formal representation--and he's never had a solo show--a few select exhibits gave Riggle enough exposure to merit an invitation from the Academy. But Tom still has no idea who invited him to participate, or where that person may have seen his work.
"An Academy member must have seen something in town during the Walker opening," said Riggle, who occasionally shows pieces at the Flanders Gallery in Minneapolis; he's also shown work at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and in an Art Chicago group show. "I'm still baffled," he said, "but very grateful."
The experience was a whirlwind for Tom, who was barely able to get his paperwork and presentation together in time for jury selection. Now, with ample motivation from the Academy, he's set aside his summer to paint full-time and develop a cohesive body of work to coincide with Bohemian Grove.
"Since the show, I've gone headfirst," he said. "It gives you something to work for."
Click here for Tom Riggle's homepage on mnartists.org. Click here for a more detailed image file of Bohemian Grove.
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