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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
April 15, 2005

Bill T. Jones receives the 2005 Wexner Prize

Columbus--The Wexner Center for the Arts has cemented their reputation for promoting LGBT artists by awarding the 2005 Wexner Prize to choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones, an openly gay artist as well as a civil rights and AIDS activist.

In little more than a decade, the Wexner Center has become an internationally renowned institution in the art world. From painting, photography and sculpture to film, dance, theater and photography, the center has been offering central Ohio residents the best of the global art world today, and the Wexner has openly celebrated and promoted GLBT artists in all media.

The Wexner Prize is given annually to a major contemporary artist in any field who has consistently been original, influential and challenged conventions in the art world and society at large.

Past recipients of the $50,000 award have been Peter Brook, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Bruce Nauman, Yvonne Rainer, Martin Scorsese, Gerhard Richter, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Renzo Piano, William Forsythe and Issey Miyake.

Jones, with his then partner, the late Arnie Zane, started to expand the ideals of choreography in the 1980s �with their work in New York. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has always committed itself to tackling serious social and political issues through their work. These include race, gender, sexuality, disability and AIDS.

Jones has also worked hard to include a diversity of body-types in his dance pieces, to more accurately reflect the American culture at large. Many critics and audiences alike have found this to be controversial, but Jones has persevered in his quest to break down the conventions of what kind of bodies belong on stage and screen.

Prior to winning this award, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has also received a Wexner Center residency. They have presented five performances at the Wexner complex on the campus of the Ohio State University.

In announcing the award on April 10, center director Sherri Geldin said that Jones is �astonishing in his choreographic range.�

�Bill T. Jones can be both lyrical and lacerating, pugnacious and poignant,� she added. �Ever the iconoclast, Bill has devoted his practice to the creation of a provocative body of work that is unflinchingly honest about the complexities of contemporary life.�

The company has been touring with The Phantom Project, a celebration of the group�s 20th anniversary, featuring revivals from its historical repertoire. Jones is working on a new work called Blind Date, which explores the ideas of patriotism, nationalism, and misguided wars.

The award will be presented to Jones in the fall.


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