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Guggenheim for Daniel Heyman–Iraqis to lunch ladies


Philadelphia artist Daniel Heyman, whose work puts the personal face on politics, war and other injustices, has won a Guggenheim! He is one of 180 Fellows named this year from about 3,000 applicants. The awards go to work in the arts, humanities and sciences.

Daniel Heyman, Disco Mosul, Amman series, drypoint, 22 x 27 inches

Heyman is not the only artist with a Philadelphia connection, and all things considered, not so many fine artists got named–only 23 of them from across the country. So being among them is a great honor! Others with Philadelphia connections are painter John Zurier, a Californian who shows here at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, and Philadelphia-based choreographer Rennie Harris!

I asked Heyman, whose moving print portraits bear witness to atrocities and injustices, what project he had planned for the fellowship. Here’s what he emailed me:

The project was to continue to work with issues related to the war, civil rights and torture, both here and overseas if the opportunity comes up.  I am following a case of US service women who were raped by their male counterparts while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan (see Helen Bennedict’s book The Lonely Soldier) and also about to start a portrait project with the noon-time aids and lunch ladies in the Philadelphia school system.  My brother, who is a union organizer, works with them and they sound like they could really tell a story!

Daniel Heyman, installation of stories from war victims in installation at The Print Center in Philadelphia.

Heyman’s portraits, with their compressed stories inscribed in the background of the portraits, is the antithesis of Zurier’s calm colorfield paintings.

John Zurier, Verge, image taken from

Also of note is 2010 Fellow Anne Chu, whose dramatic sculptures mix folklore and myth-making, humility and awe.

chu ica
Anne Chu sculptures at the Puppet Show at the ICA in Philadelphia