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Jeff Koons, MOCA, Connie Butler among winners of new art award

October 30, 2009 | 12:02 pm

Moore Award season in Hollywood is often mocked by cultural aesthetes as crass and commercial. But purveyors of the fine arts certainly aren't above throwing their own lavish parties to honor themselves. In fact, it's apparently hip now to imitate those vulgar Tinseltown award ceremonies -- but in an ironic way, of course.

Yesterday at New York's Guggenheim Museum, the elite of the museum and gallery worlds gathered for an event titled "The First Annual Art Awards." The ceremony, which was organized by conceptual artist Rob Pruitt, was intended to ape the Hollywood tradition of bestowing glitzy prizes in a celebrity-infested atmosphere. (Julianne Moore and James Franco were on hand to present some of the awards.)

A news release for the event went so far as to spin the evening itself as "a performance-based artwork." Culture Monster doesn't really buy the whole tongue-in-cheek angle. After all, when does a parody cross the line to become the thing itself?

In any case, the ceremony included many high-profile art-world winners. Mary Heilmann and Connie Butler won the artist and curator of the year awards, respectively. (The latter was a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. for many years.)

Jeff Koons won the award for exhibition outside the U.S. for his installation at Versailles. The award for solo museum show went to the Martin Kippenberger retrospective organized by MOCA and New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Other winners included artist Ryan Trecartin, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York's Tony Shafrazi Gallery and critic Jerry Saltz.

The award trophy, which was designed by Pruitt, resembled a celebratory bucket of Champagne that also serves as a fully functional lamp, according to the Guggenheim.

-- David Ng

Photo: Julianne Moore and Francisco Costa (of Calvin Klein) at last night's ceremony at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

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