The Addison Gallery of American Art is pleased to announce that Reggie Burrows Hodges is the inaugural recipient of the Addison Artist Council’s Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr. Prize, the highlight of a new initiative the museum launched earlier this year to provide important institutional support to American artists. Through the initiative, the Addison will organize the first solo exhibition of Hodges’ work at a collecting institution, opening in fall 2023 with an accompanying publication, an artist’s residency, and an acquisition of Hodges’ work for the museum’s permanent collection.
Drawing inspiration from childhood experiences as well as art history, Reggie Burrows Hodges explores storytelling and visual metaphor in his work, looking at universal subjects such as identity, community, truth, and memory. In creating his large-scale paintings, Hodges begins with a raw canvas painted black onto which he carefully develops figures and scenes with painterly, foggy brushwork. Stripped of individual identifiers, the faceless figures in his paintings materialize in rich and mysterious recessive space and encourage viewers to draw on their own experiences and memories to help shape the nebulous scenes and stories. Their quiet haziness, developed with the soft yet controlled touch of Hodges’ hand, probes the imprecision of memory and examines the relationship between humans and their surroundings.
“We conceived the Addison Artist Council as a way to support artists who are making exceptional contributions to the continued exploration of the American experience through the visual arts and who are at a moment in their career when such support can have a lasting impact,” said Allison Kemmerer, the Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art. “Reggie Burrows Hodges’ art historically informed practice and empathetic approach make him an ideal choice to be the inaugural recipient of the Hayes prize.”
“I am overjoyed with gratitude and deeply honored to have been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Addison Artist Council’s Hayes Prize,” said Reggie Burrows Hodges. “This kind of sustained support is integral and goes beyond a single moment in time and opens a continuing collaboration through the process of planning and installing a solo exhibition, creating a catalogue, and working directly with young people through the Addison’s residency program.”
“The Addison Artist Council consists of members of the Phillips Academy alumni community working across the cultural landscape today who all trace their passion and commitment to the arts back to the Addison,” said Sarah Wendell Sherrill, steering committee member and co-Founder of Lobus. “We’re inspired by Reggie Burrows Hodges’ vision and honored that he will be the first artist to participate in this new and vital initiative that continues the Addison’s legacy of being at the vanguard of American art, providing the first exhibitions of and/or early support to such artists as Charles Sheeler, Hans Hofmann, Andy Warhol, Ruth Asawa, Francesca Woodman, Dawoud Bey, and many others.”
The Addison’s Tradition of Artist Support
The AAC’s launch builds on the Addison’s nearly century-long commitment to presenting, acquiring, and commissioning contemporary art and supporting living artists. In the 1930s, shortly after its founding, the Addison was the first U.S. museum to present an exhibition of Josef Albers’ work, the first to organize a John Sloan retrospective, and one of the first to collect and present photography as fine art. In the 1940s, as a result of the visionary leadership of then director Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., the Addison was the first museum to exhibit works by Ruth Asawa, Kenneth Noland, and Andy Warhol, and presented the first full-scale U.S. retrospective ever given to an Abstract Expressionist artist, Hans Hofmann. In 1946, the Addison—located on the campus of Phillips Academy—began a residency program with artist Charles Sheeler, and in 1982 the program was endowed through the generosity of a Phillips Academy alumus Edward E. Elson. Since then, the Addison has brought to campus both established and emerging artists from diverse backgrounds, giving early support to Dawoud Bey and Kerry James Marshall, and bringing Robert Frank, Sheila Hicks, Lee Mingwei, Lorna Simpson, and Frank Stella (among many others) to the Addison to work with students from Phillips Academy as well as students from the surrounding region. The AAC program grows out of this history and will extend it into the future.
The AAC artist selection process included nominations from the AAC Steering Committee, which consists of Phillips Academy alumni who are arts professionals and/or supporters of contemporary art, and the Addison’s curatorial department. This list was then narrowed down to three semi-finalists by the curatorial team with the final artist selected by the Steering Committee.
About Reggie Burrows Hodges
Reggie Burrows Hodges (b. 1965, Compton, CA) is a painter currently based in Maine and the Bay Area. Hodges studied theatre and film at the University of Kansas. In 2021, Hodges received a Jacob Lawrence Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hodges’ work is in collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, among others.
Top image: Reggie Burrows Hodges, Karma, New York 2021, installation view. Courtesy of the artist and Karma.