Young Artist Matthew Brannon Selected as Winner of Juilliard Visual Arts Competition

Press Release Images


The Juilliard School is pleased to announce the selection of Matthew Brannon as the winner of the inaugural Juilliard Visual Arts Competition. Mr. Brannon will create an original work of art for the School's June Noble Larkin lobby. It will be unveiled, becoming part of the School's permanent collection in September 2009, as the School completes its extensive renovation project. It will be the first major artwork to be installed at Juilliard since the building has emerged from construction.


The project is realized through a generous donation made by Juilliard Board Member Dr. Bernard T. Ferrari and his wife Linda, to create original works of visual art for Juilliard's newly-renovated and expanded building. Together, the Ferraris and the School decided on an invitational competition as their preferred format to find an emerging, contemporary artist to create the inaugural piece of art. Both envision continuing the annual visual arts competition with a focus on emerging, contemporary artists.


Matthew Brannon was one of five artists invited to submit a proposal for the work to be installed in the new lobby. The jury making the selection included: Christine Wächter-Campbell, Co-Owner of Winston Wächter Fine Art; Christian Rattemeyer, Associate Curator, Museum of Modern Art; Doreen Remen, Co-Founder of Art Production Fund; and Simon Watson, Co-Founder of Scenic.   


In announcing the selection of Mr. Brannon Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi stated, "The members of the Juilliard community owe a great debt of gratitude to trustee Bernard Ferrari and his wife Linda, for their vision and generosity in making it possible to exhibit newly created works of art for our new lobby and other spaces in the renovated Juilliard building. Matthew Brannon's work will complement the activities of the young performing artists who work and perform in our building every day. Through Bernie and Linda's entrepreneurial concept we will bring the performing arts and the visual arts communities closer in the time ahead."


Now living and working in New York City, Mr. Brannon originally is from St. Maries, Idaho. His artwork takes many forms including sculpture, printed fabric, installations and text pieces. He is best known for his letterpress prints that combine text and image in a seemingly innocuous manner that belies deeper psychological undercurrents. The subject of his art often concerns ideas of tact, the trappings of careerism, the construction of persona, and the pathology of addiction. His work recently has been featured at the 2008 Torino Triennale, the 2008 Whitney Biennial and The Art Gallery of York University, Toronto for which there is a catalogue - "To Say the Very Least." As well as recent exhibitions at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York and Gio Marconi, Milan. 


Matthew Brannon's stature in the art world has been rising based on his provocative pieces and installations. He asks viewers to contemplate the imagery that surrounds their daily life, particularly in a stimulating environment such as New York City, and balance the urban intensity with a creative tranquility. Mr. Brannon's work to be created for Juilliard will be representative of his innovative style. It will fuse art and design to create a piece that is sophisticated, novel, and introspective - hallmarks of The Juilliard School's tradition and philosophy.  


In describing his work for Juilliard's June Noble Larkin Lobby, Mr. Brannon says, "My proposed artwork was made with the students of Julliard in mind. It is to serve as an intriguing transition from the streets of New York to the school inside. The artwork is a thirty-foot long wall piece consisting of a twenty-foot long ripple fold drape with my own custom printed fabric alongside a text piece in metallic relief which reads "last in the elevator, first out." The curtain hints both that something is being concealed and gestures toward a private space free of distraction. The text is a double entendre that offers not only a literal strategy to entering the nearby elevators but also advice that success often requires determination beyond immediate reward." Noting that discipline is a trademark of Juilliard,

Mr. Brannon goes on to say that he is creating a piece "...for students and professionals with talent, both intuitive and trained, participating in a practice that goes well beyond discipline alone."


Renowned for its performing arts education, the Juilliard's institutional philosophy aims to nurture the complete artist and human being in its students. The power of the visual arts to inspire and to foster creativity makes it a natural and desirable counterpart to that goal. Building upon the high level of artistic achievement fostered in the School, the selection of the emerging artist Matthew Brannon is testament to the visionary beliefs of both the jurists and the School.

There is a tradition of tying the performance and visual arts at Juilliard and Lincoln Center as a whole. Large scale works by major artists were commissioned or placed throughout Lincoln Center when it was built almost exactly fifty years ago. Many have been relocated to accommodate the two-year construction phase. Coinciding with the building wide renovation, Juilliard sees this time as an opportune moment to invite the visual art community into the School once again, and join talents with its artists in music, dance and drama.


Mr. Brannon's new work will join one especially important piece that has just returned to its Juilliard location, Louise Nevelson's Nightsphere-Light (1969). Typical of her black-painted works of that period, its non-objective shapes are arranged with a rhythmic repetition in multiple panels. In 2000, it was chosen as one of five examples of her work to grace a set of U.S. Postal Service stamps.  In addition, Juilliard's teaching studios and offices house any number of paintings, and a bronze relief of founder Augustus Juilliard created by early-20th century sculptor Chester Beach, who also was known for his commemorative medals and coins.