Art In Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

ART IN LITERATURE: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award recognizes an outstanding book that is written primarily in response to a work (or works) of art while also showing the highest literary quality as a creative or scholarly work on its own merit. This unique award, established in 2013 by the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is named in honor of Mary Lynn Kotz, longtime contributing editor of ARTnews magazine and author of the award–winning biography of artist Robert Rauschenberg. Originally published in 1990, the third edition of Rauschenberg: Art and Life was published in March 2018. For years Kotz has spoken passionately about the need for clear, exciting writing about art.

The founding committee for the Art in Literature Award included Katherine Neville, (Board, Smithsonian Libraries); Alex Nyerges (Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts); Karl H. Pribram, MD (Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University); Clarice Smith (Board, Smithsonian American Art Museum); Lindley Smith, MD (Board, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), and Sandra G. Treadway (Librarian of Virginia).

Works eligible for submission for the award must be published for the first time in English in the United States in the calendar year before the award is presented. New editions of previously published works are eligible for consideration if the new edition contains a substantial amount of new material. The topic of the book submitted must be the visual arts, including but not limited to painting, carving, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, glass, and the artists or milieu of such works—but excluding such arts as dramatic and performance arts, music, literature, and interactive or computer art. Categories of acceptable work include: fiction, journalism, poetry, history, biography, art history, social history of art, catalogs of qualified museum exhibitions, and young adult books.

The 2018 winner of the Art in Literature Award is Sargentís Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas by Donna M. Lucey. Lucey was recognized at a special event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Friday, October 19, 2018 as well as at the Library of Virginiaís Annual Literary Awards Celebration on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

A list of past finalists and winners can be viewed on the Literary Awards website.

Nominations are now closed for the 2019 Art in Literature: Mary Lynn Kotz Award (books published in 2018); judging will conclude later this summer. Please check back here for the announcement of the winner. The nomination form and submission instructions for the 2020 Art in Literature: Mary Lynn Kotz Award (books published in 2019) will soon be posted here with nominations accepted through March 15, 2020.

facebook twitter youtube instagram view more