Dave Hickey, professor of art theory and criticism at UNLV, was one of 23 recipients recently awarded the MacArthur Fellowship by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As a recipient, Hickey will receive $500,000 over five years of "no strings attached" support to pursue any creative endeavor of his choosing.
"David Hickey is the first Nevadan to receive this prestigious award. He is not only known internationally for his art criticism, but he is also a highly respected teacher," UNLV President Carol C. Harter said. "In the arts, the MacArthur Fellowship is among the most prestigious awards, and we are pleased to have a faculty member of such high distinction on our campus. Professors like David Hickey and our Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka are helping to enrich our culture, our community, and UNLV's academic reputation."
"We are thrilled to have Dave Hickey as part of the Fine Arts faculty at UNLV," said Jeffrey Koep, dean of the College of Fine Arts. "His vision and leadership within the art department has helped create the fine reputation it enjoys today. We congratulate Dave on this impressive, prestigious award."
"I am delighted with the award and it comes as a total surprise," Hickey said. "My plans include completing several books that I have begun writing."
"The announcement of the MacArthur Fellows offers an opportunity to focus on the importance of the creative individual in society," said Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "Whether working alone or within an organization, these are people who provide the imagination and fresh ideas that can improve people's lives and bring about movement on important issues."
"Most of the MacArthur Foundation's funding is intended to support the creative efforts of organizations and institutions," Fanton added, "yet we also understand that individual leadership, initiative, and creativity can provide the spark that moves great enterprise forward."
According to the MacArthur Foundation, Hickey spurns ideological agendas and champions what some consider to be outmoded notions of beauty, artistic vision, and the virtues of the marketplace. In an essay on Norman Rockwell, for example, Hickey celebrates the artist's work and compares his composition skills favorably with those of artists such as Jean-Honor? Fragonard and Jacques-Louis David. He convincingly argues that Rockwell remains alive in the American public's imagination and continues to be a deeply influential artist. Writing with grace, precision, and humor, and absent of any pretension, Hickey invites his readers to experience art on its own terms.
Hickey continues to surprise and educate his audience with his piercing insights and probing commentary. His wisdom and unusual viewpoints provide fresh and provocative counterpoints to the traditional world of art criticism.
Dave Hickey received a B.A. (1961) from Texas Christian University and an M.A. (1963) from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a freelance writer, curator, and lecturer who has been affiliated with UNLV since 1992.
Last year he received the Regents Creativity Award from the University and Community College System of Nevada. He served as curator for SITE Santa Fe's Fourth International Biennial, "Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism" (July 2001-January 2002).
Hickey has been a visiting professor at numerous institutions, including Harvard University, Rice University, and the Otis Parsons Institute, Los Angeles.
His critical essays on art have been collected in two volumes: "The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty" (1993) and "Air Guitar: Essays in Art and Democracy" (1997). He is the author of many museum exhibition catalog essays on a variety of artists' work such as that of Josiah McElheny for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, John Baldessari for the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and Vija Celmins for the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art.
Hickey is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant (1969) and the College Art Association's Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art or Architectural Criticism (1993).