Brooklyn College Sculptor Arthur Simms Wins Prestigious Rome Prize

Arthur Simms, '87, M.F.A. '93, an adjunct professor in the Art Department, received the very prestigious Rome Prize in sculpture for his wildly inventive artwork.

Best known for his eclectic use of found materials, mixed-media sculptor Arthur Simms, adjunct professor of art at Brooklyn College, has been awarded the Harold M. English Rome Prize Fellowship of the American Academy in Rome.

   Simms, one of thirty-one recipients of the 2002-—2003 Rome Prize, was also awarded a 1999 Guggenheim fellowship and was featured in the prestigious 2001 Venice Biennale. The prize is a yearlong residency in a spacious sculpture studio, which Simms plans on sharing with his wife, the painter Lucy Fradkin. The prize is funded by an endowment left by Harold M. English, a Maryland—based psychiatrist and philanthropist who died in 1984.

    The American artists and scholars selected for the Rome Prize are awarded fellowships for periods ranging from six months to two years during which they live and work in the academy’s eighteen-building complex, atop Rome’s highest hill, the Janiculum.
Simms’s work frequently examines the cross-cultural dialogue between his native home of Saint Andrew, Jamaica, and the United States. He lives and works in Queens, where he collects the various cast-off objects—bottles, rocks, wire, and scrap metal—that he incorporates into his work. Critics have noted that his works integrate elements of modernism, Australian Aboriginal art and the domestic crafts of the Caribbean. "I was born in the Year of the Ox on the Chinese calendar," Simms explains, "so I just naturally hoard things."

"He Looked Like a Ska Prince" (2000)

    "Arthur is an exceptionally promising up-and-coming young sculptor," says Michael Mallory, chairperson of the Art Department. "He's one of those artists we love to have here—building a carreer and back in our classrooms.

    His work has been widely exhibited in such venues as the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, N.Y., the York College Art Gallery in Jamaica, Queens, Manhattan's Henry Street Settlement, and Brooklyn’s Sideshow Gallery. His work is also currently on display in the Socrates Sculpture Garden in Long Island City, the New Orleans Museum and the Clark University Gallery of Art.

    The Rome Prizes are awarded in such fields as architecture, design, historical preservation and conservation, literature, musical composition, the visual arts, and medieval studies. Eight different juries selected this year’s fellows in the annual open competition. The American Academy in Rome has been a leading center for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities for more than one hundred years.

     "This is a fantastic opportunity to be in an Italian landmark, and it's still hard to believe," says Simms, who came to the United States at age eight and grew up in Crown Heights. "At the awards ceremony I admit I got pretty emotional. I couldn't have done any of this without Brooklyn College. I'm a living example of what can happen to you with hard work and a little luck."
"Dreamcatcher" (2000)
"Spinning Knife, Jack Mandora
Me Na Choose Nun" (1997-98)





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