2013 Hudgens Prize Winner

Longobardi with Executive Director Teresa Osborn of The Hudgens

Pam Longobardi of Atlanta has been named the winner of the prestigious Hudgens Prize, which includes a transformational cash award of $50,000 and an invitation for a solo exhibition at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth. The Hudgens Prize is one of the largest art awards given in the entire nation, and is given only to Georgia residents.

The winner was announced at an emotionally-charged Award Ceremony at the Hudgens on Saturday evening, following a reception for the finalists. She was selected from a group of four finalists, including Chris Chambers and Robbie Land of Atlanta, and Derek Larson of Statesboro.

A tearful Longobardi pronounced herself speechless, and stated, “It has been an honor and a privilege to get to know my fellow finalists, formidable competitors all. I am overwhelmed by the support of the jurors, the Hudgens, and the community of Atlanta.”

A prestigious jury of contemporary curators from three top art institutions that included Doryun Chong, Associate Curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Toby Kamps, Chief Curator of the Menil Collection, Houston, TX; and Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin in Austin, TX, selected the finalists from a pool of 370 applicants and chose the winning artist.

The jurors stated, “We are all very happy to support the Hudgens Prize. This is a potentially game-changing award for one Georgia artist. It can take an artist’s career in a new direction, by providing time and resources for research and experimentation, and it can galvanize the state’s artists to push their own practices as they compete for it every two years.”

The Hudgens Prize winner was chosen by the jury panel based on in-person visits to each of the four finalist’s studios, which was a new element added to the selection process, as well as on the works in the current Hudgens Prize Finalist’s Exhibition, which remains on view through September 7. “The opportunity for us to visit the finalists’ studios is fantastic. We met great, creative Georgians working at the highest level,” the jurors said.

The jurors enthused about Longobardi, “Part artist, part archaeologist, part forensic scientist, Pam Longobardi’s sculptures and installations are the synthesized products of objects and debris cast out from oceans in remote geographical locations and collected by the artist over time. Reflecting the crisis of our modern ‘plastic age,’ Longobardi’s work highlights notions of commerce, consumption, and the wastefulness of human society, as well as the powerful and unseen forces of nature to demolish and transform the objects we create.

“When she is not on expeditions and dealing with its aftermaths, her parallel practice also unfolds in meticulously rendered and equally exploratory works on paper. As judges of the 2013 Hudgens Prize, we are thrilled to select Longobardi as the winner of this award and hope it will enable her to continue to deepen and expand her already meaningful practice.

“We were impressed and stimulated by the thoughtfulness and commitment of all four finalists. The diversity of their practices also made the selection difficult. We were ultimately won over by not only the dedication but also promises and ramifications of Pam’s ongoing, long-term work.”

Longobardi has had over 40 solo exhibitions and 65 group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the US, China, Italy, Spain, Finland, Poland, Japan, Germany, Greece and Monaco. She is Professor of Art at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and created the Drifters Project in 2006, an ongoing environmental art intervention involving photography and installation focusing on the cultural artifact of contemporary life, the plastic object, and its impact on the global ocean.

She exhibited this work in Beijing at NY ARTS/Beijing during the 2008 Olympics and at ARTLIFEfortheworld in Venice for the 2009 Venice Biennale ARTE VISIVI collateral exhibitions. Edizione CHARTA (Milan, NY) published a book on her project titled “Drifters: Plastics, Pollution and Personhood” in 2010.

Longobardi wrote in her Hudgens Prize application, “I am a conceptual artist with a strong affinity to materials and process. Collectively, both these aspects of my practice explore the Anthropocene [modern era, dominated by humans]. Plastic objects are the cultural archaeology of our time. These are objects with unintended consequences that become transformed as they leave the quotidian world and collide with nature to be mutated, transported and regurgitated out of the shifting oceans. I have made scores of interventions, cleaning beaches and making collections from all over the world, removing thousands of pounds of material from the natural environment and re-situating it in exhibition context for examination.”

The purpose of the Hudgens Prize competition is to elevate and promote the arts in Georgia, as well as to offer a transformational opportunity for the winning artist. The Prize was last awarded in 2010, to artist Gyun Hur of Atlanta.

For more information about Longobardi and the other finalists, as well as links to in-depth profiles on ArtsATL.com, click on Hudgens Prize Finalists, above.