The winners of the prestigious Praemium Imperiale arts awards, including American theatre director Ellen Stewart, were officially announced at the Japanese Cultural Center in Paris. The awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prize.
The awards ceremony will be held in Tokyo October 16, where the Laureates will receive specially-designed gold medals and diplomas from His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association.
Candidates for the Praemium Imperiale awards are nominated by a distinguished panel of International Advisors and selected by the Japan Art Association. The American Advisor is William H. Luers, President of the United Nations Association, a leading center for policy research. He previously served for 13 years as President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, following a distinguished 31-year career in the Foreign Service. This is Mr. Luers' seventh year on the panel since succeeding David Rockefeller, Jr., who now serves as an Honorary Advisor.
Other International Advisors include Raymond Barre (who passed away on August 25), Lamberto Dini, Otto Graf Lambsdorff, and Nakasone Yasuhiro. Other Honorary Advisors are Jacques Chirac, David Rockefeller, Helmut Schmidt, and Richard von Weizsacker.
"We're very proud to announce such an eclectic and inspiring group as this year's Laureates," Mr. Luers said. "What is especially striking about this year's recipients is the continuing influence they have in their respective fields, pointing to exciting new dimensions in their already world-renowned and influential bodies of work."
Last year, the Praemium Imperiale was awarded to Yayoi Kusama (painting), Christian Boltanski (sculpture), Frei Otto (architecture), Steve Reich (music) and Maya Plisetskaya (theatre/film). Previous Laureates have included Leonard Bernstein, Ingmar Bergman, Willem de Kooning, Frank Gehry, Arthur Miller, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Rauschenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Rem Koolhaas, Mstislav Rostropovich, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Norman Foster and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who served as the association's honorary patron for 58 years.
For more information on the Japan Art Association and the Praemium Imperiale, including biographies of current and past winners, visit www.praemiumimperiale.org.