President Obama on Monday awarded the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal on two organizations and 15 individuals---from artist Will Barnet to Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino.
Among those honored with the National Medal of Arts, these citations were given to three individuals who work in visual arts:
Will Barnet for his contributions as an American painter, printmaker, and teacher. His nuanced and graceful depictions of family and personal scenes, for which he is best known, are meticulously constructed of flat planes that reveal a lifelong exploration of abstraction, expressionism, and geometry. For over 80 years, Mr. Barnet has been a constant force in the visual arts world, marrying sophistication and emotion with beauty and form.
Emily Rauh Pulitzer for her contributions as a curator, art collector, and philanthropist. Mrs. Pulitzer has dedicated herself to connecting art and viewers through her generosity in caring for well-established institutions like the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Harvard Art Museums, and The Museum of Modern Art; as well as having the vision to create a new destination in St. Louis with the founding of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.
Martin Puryear for his contributions as an American sculptor. Mr. Puryear transforms mundane and utilitarian materials -- wood, stone, and metal -- into evocative talismans that quietly and powerfully explore issues of history, culture, and identity. His unwavering commitment to manual skill and traditional building methods offer a seductive alternative to our increasingly digital world.