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This year’s crop of geniuses

Every year, after the MacArthur Foundation gives a couple dozen people the surprise of a lifetime with its “Genius” grants, a flurry of articles are generated touting the newly mined geniuses based on birthplace, current residence or place of work, age, gender, profession, etc. The Walker is not immune to this tradition, as oftentimes the geniuses […]

Every year, after the MacArthur Foundation gives a couple dozen people the surprise of a lifetime with its “Genius” grants, a flurry of articles are generated touting the newly mined geniuses based on birthplace, current residence or place of work, age, gender, profession, etc. The Walker is not immune to this tradition, as oftentimes the geniuses include artists who have developed notable relationships with the institution through exhibitions and performances, by creating commissioned work, or artist residencies. To wit, this year’s crop includes:

Matthew Carter: PBS.org calls him “a prolific type designer who has created more than 60 typeface families and over 250 fonts” — including, in the mid-90s, the Walker typeface.

Jason Moran, also on PBS.org’s highlighted list, “is a jazz pianist and composer whose work crosses genres and combines disciplines. Leader of an ensemble called The Bandwagon, Moran has made melodies out of human speech, collaborated with visual artists in multimedia performances and honored jazz gods like Thelonious Monk.” Moran has performed at the Walker (and toured current exhibitions) on several occasions — his work Milestone was a Walker commission based on its visual art collection. Here’s his “Making Music” talk at the Walker from May 2009.

Related shout-outs (on a geographic and professional basis) go to Marla Spivak over at the University of Minnesota for her work in protecting the honeybee population; and to two visual artists, Elizabeth Turk and Jorge Pardo (who does have a set of screenprints in the Walker collection).

Here’s the full list at the MacArthur Foundation, with portraits, videos, etc. etc.