Rodney McMillian winner of The Contemporary Austin’s ‘Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize’ Texas February 1 – August 26, 2018

January 10, 2018 by Laura Gomez


The Contemporary Austin will present a solo exhibition of newly commissioned and recent works by the Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969 in Columbia, South Carolina). On view at the museum’s downtown location on Congress Avenue, Rodney McMillian: Against a Civic Death is an immersive installation that fills the entire exhibition space and incorporates paintings, sculptural installations, video, and sound pieces.

McMillian was selected by an independent Advisory Committee of six renowned curators from across the U.S. to be the inaugural winner of The Contemporary Austin’s Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, which awarded McMillian a $100,000 unrestricted prize along with a solo exhibition and a scholarly catalogue. The exhibition will be on view from February 1 through August 26, 2018, and will be accompanied by educational programming including films, performances, and lectures. The catalogue will feature the new work created for the exhibition in Austin, along with a history of McMillian’s performance-based works from throughout his career. More information about the exhibition, related programming, and the prize is available at

“The Contemporary Austin is built on collaboration, and the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize contributes to this, offering an artist the latitude to expand their practice or even experiment with new formats,” said Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director and CEO of The Contemporary. “As the inaugural awardee, Rodney has taken advantage of this opportunity to create new work and to rethink his past work in a new context. We are proud to present Rodney’s exhibition and to create a space that can contribute to a civil discourse on the history and ideas that he thoughtfully explores in these powerful and engaging installations.”



Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969 in Columbia, South Carolina) makes work that spans multiple media and techniques in a critique of identity, class, race, and social history through everyday materials and gestures. Currently an associate professor of sculpture at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), McMillian holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, a post-baccalaureate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA (Foreign Affairs) from the University of Virginia. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at such museums as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Aspen Art Museum; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Saint Louis Art Museum. His work has been featured prominently in biennials including the 12th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2015) and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, New York; as well as in many group exhibitions. He has received awards from The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2011); United States Artists and Art Matters (both 2008); and the William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts (2007). Rodney McMillian is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Maccarone, Los Angeles/New York.

As Austin’s only museum solely focused on contemporary artists and their work, The Contemporary Austin offers exhibitions, educational opportunities, and events that start conversations and fuel the city’s creative spirit. Known for artist-centric projects and collaborations, The Contemporary invites exploration in both its urban and natural settings—downtown at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue, lakeside at the Laguna Gloria Campus (including the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, the Art School, and the historic Driscoll Villa), and around Austin through the Museum Without Walls program.

Artists represented at the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria include Terry Allen, Carol Bove, Tom Friedman, Anya Gallaccio, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, John Grade, Jim Hodges, Nancy Holt, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, Lionel Maunz, Paul McCarthy, Wangechi Mutu, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Tom Sachs, Monika Sosnowska, and Ai Weiwei.

Copyright: Image Captions courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Rodney McMillian, Photograph by Robert Wedemeyer.

Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize Rodney McMillian: Against a Civic Death
February 1 – August 26, 2018
The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center
700 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas