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2012 Moss/Chumley Artist Award Winner – Stephen Lapthisophon


The Meadows Museum announces that Stephen Lapthisophon is the recipient of the 2012 Moss/Chumley Artist Award.  The award is given annually to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited professionally for at least ten years and has a proven track record as a community advocate for the visual arts.  Lapthisophon received the award on December 5, 2012 at an evening reception at the Meadows Museum.

This year’s recipient of the Moss/Chumley Award is a multimedia artist whose work defies classification; as a whole, he addresses questions of language, history, and cultural memory. Many of his projects are site-specific installations that address the sensory world. His sensory preoccupation is in part due to his own experience with an optic nerve disorder in 1994, which left him legally blind. Recent solo exhibitions include “Quotation as Gesture” at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2009, “Spelling Lesson” at Conduit Gallery in 2011 and “The Construction of a National Identity” at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. He is represented at Conduit Gallery in Dallas.

In his own words:  “I use my own blindness as a figure for the ways we interpret the world through our own specific framing mechanisms. I have also been more and more drawn to create pieces involving a commentary on the sensory world as understood through food, cuisine, cooking and interaction through food and the art audience. My recent cooking projects have allowed me to speak to all the senses and examine the interaction of our sensory processes.” [excerpted from his acceptance speech of 2008 for the prestigious Wynn Newhouse Award, given to artists with disabilities]

The Moss/Chumley Award was founded to recognize not only talented artists residing in north Texas, but also to acknowledge those who have a proven track record as an active community advocate for the visual arts. He is a constant feature in the Dallas/Fort Worth arts scene, giving lectures and leading discussions; in addition, his support and advocacy of other artists and art projects in the Metroplex was readily recognized by the panel, and they believe that he is the type of artist Frank Moss and Jim Chumley would have had in mind when they established the fund and subsequent award.

The jury for the 2012 award included George T. Lee, Jr., attorney and chair of the Collections Committee of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council; Kevin Vogel, president of Valley House Gallery in Dallas and member of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council; Joan Davidow, director emeritus of The Dallas Contemporary; Heyd Fontenot, artist and director of Central Trak, University of Texas at Dallas Artists Residency; Lucia Simek, artist and writer; Nicole Atzbach, assistant curator at the Meadows Museum; Shelley DeMaria, curatorial assistant at the Meadows Museum; and  Iraida Rodríguez-Negrón, Meadows/Kress/Prado Fellow at the Meadows Museum.

Jury member Fontenot commented, “I've only lived in Dallas for less than two years, but from my experience Stephen Lapthisophon is a consistent presence in the social/cultural art scene in North Texas.  Besides having his quite prolific, personal studio practice, Stephen teaches at two different institutions, is involved in at least one collective, curates shows, acts as a mentor to up-and-comers, and is regularly out at opening events in support of his peers.  These combined activities are exactly what the Moss-Chumley award was established to recognize.  Stephen very much deserves this honor.”

Stephen Lapthisophon

Stephen Lapthisophon’s exhibition history spans a period of 35 years. He has participated in solo and group initiatives both stateside and internationally. Here in the U.S., he has exhibited in New York, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, and extensively throughout Texas, where he received his BFA at the University of Texas at Austin in 1977, as well as in Chicago, where he received a MFA at the Art Institute. Recent projects have taken him to Europe—at the Institute for Contemporary Art Overgaden, in Copenhagen, Denmark; at El Escaparate in Barcelona in 2009; as well as in Berlin, at the Kunstverein INGAN in 2006, and at the Koch/Kunst/Galerie as part of the Zagreus Projekt in 2008.

Also a writer and educator, Lapthisophon teaches art and art history at the University of Texas at Arlington, and has taught at Columbia College in Chicago, at the Art Institute of Chicago, and at the University of Texas in Dallas.  Having studied comparative literature and theory at Northwestern University, his work is informed by cultural politics and close readings of Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Karl Marx, Berthold Brecht.  His visual novel Hotel Terminus was published in 2001, and he produced the soundtrack to this novel called the bells in 2002 as a resident artist at the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. His art is included in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Dallas Museum of Art.

Moss/Chumley Memorial Fund and Artist Award

The Moss/Chumley Memorial Fund was begun in 1989 by Frank Moss and the Meadows Museum as a tribute to Jim Chumley; Moss's name was added to the fund upon his death in 1991. Moss and Chumley were two Dallas art dealers who made outstanding contributions to the visual arts in North Texas during the 1980s. The pair operated the Nimbus Gallery on Routh Street from 1980 to 1987 and the Moss/Chumley Gallery at the Crescent Court from 1986 to 1989, where they showcased numerous new artists. Established in 1995, the Moss/Chumley Artist Award is given in their memory.  The award is open to artists working in any medium who reside in one of the eleven North Texas counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise. Past recipients have included Isabelle duToit, Juliette McCullough, Catherine Chauvin, Kaleta Doolin, David Dreyer, Susan Kae Grant, David Hickman, Tracy Hicks, David McCullough, Bob Nunn, Sherry Owens, Ludwig Schwarz, Noah Simblist, Janet Tyson, Marie Van Arsdale, Mary Vernon, and Marilyn Waligore.