November 14, 2017

J. Paul Getty Trust Presents J. Paul Getty Medal to Artist Anselm Kiefer and Writer Mario Vargas Llosa

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Attendees include Adam Gopnik, Christo Javacheff, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Richard Meier, Simon Schama, Carrie M. Weems


(L-R) Jim Cuno, Anselm Kiefer, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Mario Vargas Llosa at the Getty Medal Dinner 2017 (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for J. Paul Getty Trust)


NEW YORK – The J. Paul Getty Trust presented the annual J. Paul Getty Medal to artist Anselm Kiefer and writer Mario Vargas Llosa at a dinner at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City on November 13, 2017.

          Writer and essayist Adam Gopnik gave the introduction of Mr. Vargas Llosa, who was honored for his commitment to the moral and intellectual value of the arts. Historian Simon Schama presented Mr. Kiefer, who was honored for his powerful work and complex subject matter, dealing with controversial issues from recent history.

          More than 200 guests from the worlds of art, literature, and philanthropy attended the dinner, including Kwame Anthony Appiah, Tina Barney, Eli Broad, Peter Chernin, Larry Gagosian, Agnes Gund, Christo Javacheff, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Thomas Krens, Nicola Lopez, Richard Meier, Carrie M. Weems, and Shelby White.

          “This year we held our annual dinner in New York for the first time because New York, as another international center of the arts, aligns with the Getty’s commitment to the worldwide preservation of our collective cultural heritage through collections, exhibitions, conservation, research, scholarship, and philanthropy,” said Maria Hummer-Tuttle, chair of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “In that spirit we honor two artists whose work delights, provokes, and inspires across continents.”

          Of Mario Vargas Llosa, Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, said “No one has challenged or delighted the reader more than Mario Vargas Llosa. He has championed the view of culture as a vital consciousness that engages, enhances, and revivifies the world in which we live. For this reason, the Getty Trust is honored to bestow upon him the 2017 J. Paul Getty Medal.

          In accepting the award, Mario Vargas Llosa said simply “Learning to read is the most important thing that has ever happened to me.”

          Presenting the award to Anselm Kiefer, Mr. Cuno said “For his commitment to the ruthless exploration of the border between art and life, and for the courage and beauty of his work, the Getty Trust is honored to bestow upon Anselm Kiefer the 2017 J. Paul Getty Medal.”

          “The true artist is always an iconoclast,” said Kiefer.

          Since it was established in 2013 by the trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the medal has been awarded to six individuals to honor their extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding and support of the arts.

          Past recipients of the J. Paul Getty Medal have included Harold Williams and Nancy Englander, who were honored for their leadership in creating today’s Getty; Jacob Rothschild, for his work in the preservation of built cultural heritage; Frank Gehry, for transforming the urban landscape with buildings such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall; Yo-Yo Ma, for his efforts to further understanding of the world’s diverse cultures; and Ellsworth Kelly, for paintings and sculptures of the highest quality and originality.

Event photos available here.


Anselm Kiefer

Mr. Kiefer’s work has been shown and collected by major museums worldwide including the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Grand Palais and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France; The Royal Academy of Arts, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Canada; Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, Kyoto National Museum of Art, and Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan.

Mr. Kiefer’s oeuvre encompasses paintings, vitrines, installations, artist books, and an array of works on paper such as drawings, watercolors, collages, and altered photographs. The physical elements of his practice—from lead, concrete, and glass to textiles, tree roots, and burned books—are as symbolically resonant as they are vast-ranging. By integrating, expanding, and regenerating imagery and techniques, he brings to light the importance of the sacred and spiritual, myth and memory.

Born in Donaueschingen, Germany, in 1945 during the closing months of World War II, Mr. Kiefer reflects upon Germany’s post-war identity and history, grappling with the national mythology of the Third Reich. Fusing art and literature, painting and sculpture, Mr. Kiefer engages the complex events of history and the ancestral epics of life, death, and the cosmos.

Anselm Kiefer’s monumental body of work represents a microcosm of collective memory, visually encapsulating a broad range of cultural, literary, and philosophical allusions—from the Old and New Testaments, Kabbalah mysticism, Norse mythology and Wagner’s Ring Cycle to the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan.


Mario Vargas Llosa


Mario Vargas Llosa Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, and also spent parts of his youth in Cochabamba (Bolivia), Piura in northern Peru and Lima.

He made his debut as a novelist with The Time of the Hero (1962), set in Leoncio Prado military Academy, where he had been a student. The book received immediate international recognition. His many other works include the novels Conversation in The Cathedral, The Green House, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, Who Killed Palomino Molero?, The Storyteller, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, The Dream of the Celt, The Discreet Hero and the theatre plays La Chunga, Kathie and the Hippopotamus, The Young Lady from Tacna, among others.

Mr. Vargas Llosa has also published several books of essays. He writes for El País (Piedra de Toque), and the cultural magazine Letras Libres (Extemporáneos) published in Mexico and in Spain. His books have been translated into more than forty languages.

Mario Vargas Llosa has been an outspoken participant in the world of politics, as a prolific essayist and candidate for elected office.

He has received a long list of prestigious literary awards, including the Leopoldo Alas Prize (1959), the Rómulo Gallegos Prize (1967), the National Critics’ Prize (1967), the Critics’ Annual Prize for Theatre (1981), the Prince of Asturias Prize (1986), the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1994) -- the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor, the Jerusalem Prize (1995), the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (1996), the PEN/Nabokov Award (2002), the Nobel Prize (2010) and numerous Doctor Honoris Causa degrees from prestigious universities.




The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.


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