Paddy Johnson Explains What the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards Will Be

02/13/2012 10:36 AM |

Be there, or be Kazimir Malevichs Black Square.
  • Be there, or be Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square.”

You might’ve noticed that there were no Rob Pruitt Art Awards last year, as there had been in 2010 and 2009—there were, however, the Not Rob Pruitt’s Art Awards. But later this month our own Paddy Johnson will be putting her own spin on Pruitt’s apparently discontinued annual event with the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards and Auction on February 23. I asked her to explain what we should expect from the new event.

Since Rob Pruitt is not affiliated with the Awards, could he in theory have been nominated?
We actually asked him to have his head scanned so we could give out 3D-printouts of his head for the awards, but we never heard back from him. I feel like the joke will be better if he’s involved in some way, so I guess the answer to your question is that, in fact, I wish he were nominated. He just wasn’t a very good fit for any of our categories.

Were there any other categories you thought about giving prizes for but ended up cutting?
Tons. I’m really sad Scariest Person didn’t make the cut, but that prize didn’t seem to get better as we named nominees. Also, who wants that award? I suppose the same could be said of the “Best Procrastinator” award, though truth be told, the title of that prize makes fun of the idea that people only use Facebook to avoid other work. We chose people who we thought had a unique presence. As William Powhida said over Twitter, “Whether the prize is a dishonor really depends on the nominee.”

Is there any category for which you feel especially confident predicting a winner?
None, because at this point, we don’t even have our fourth nominee! That nominee will be chosen by our readers in an email survey or by voting online. (Sign up here to nominate yourself or someone else for an award, or vote right here).

Is there a category in which you feel someone should have been nominated but was snubbed?
Oh sure. We had John Baldessari and Hrag Vartanian nominated for Best Franco (most ubiquitous person), but Einstein Guy won out over both of them. George Kuchar was on the shortlist for best use of genitals, and Sean Capone was on the procrastinators list. That’s a whole lot of dudes though. I was really sad we couldn’t nominate Mary Boone for an award this year—she needs more awards.

What will the winners receive?
We’re keeping that under wraps until the ceremony, but I can say that the reveal alone will be worth the ticket price.

Are there any art awards ceremonies (or non-art awards ceremonies) that served as especially useful touchstones when you were creating the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards?
At the risk of stating the obvious, the Rob Pruitt Art Awards has been a guiding force, though the experiences we’ll be auctioning off make our awards very different from most. These include relationship advice from Genesis Breyer P-orridge, a custom voicemail message from Hennessy Youngman, tea in the bunker that William Burroughs worked in with John Giorno, Scott Kilgour, Debbie Harry (yes, that one), and Johnny Reinhold, and a behind-the-scenes brunch with Marilyn Minter at one of her shoots. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re trying to get a hold of a pair of Terence Koh’s old shoes, but that project is still in progress!

Every category has an empty slot for a crowd-sourced nominee; how has the feedback been so far? Are you able to announce any additional noms yet?
We’ve had a few people send us their nominations independently, but since we released the nomination forms today, I don’t have too much to report just yet. I’m hoping to see some lobbying for the final nominee slot in Best Use of Genitals. I can tell you that Jerry Saltz will be a special guest for the evening. He’ll be presenting the award for Best Next Jerry, which makes perfect sense!

With the Rob Pruitt Art Awards, it seemed like there was always an element of seriousness along with the parody and sarcasm of the event. People really cared who won. How seriously should people take the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards?
I like to describe the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards as two parts institutional critique, one part Jackass. So, yeah, there’s a lot of humor in this ceremony, but the jokes don’t work unless we take the awards seriously. And I think the nominees get that. Most people are very excited to be a nominee. Jason Andrew, who’s up for Most Powerful, has been sending our judge William Powhida pictures of his pecs all week! The procrastinators have been doing a lot less, perhaps unsurprisingly.

Will the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards become an annual event?
We certainly hope so! I think the party is going to be amazing, so as many people as we get out this year, I hope we can double it the next!

Sum up the experience of attending the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards with one animated gif.

By Yoshi Sodeoka.
  • By Yoshi Sodeoka.

Get your tickets to the Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards here, and sign up to receive the nomination mailer here, or vote online here. The ceremony takes place on February 23.

Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt