Anderson Ranch Arts Center Announces 2018 International Artist Award Honoree, Ai Weiwei, And Service to the Arts Award Honorees, Bunny and Charles Burson

February 7, 2018

Posted In: Press, Press Release

Aspen/Snowmass, CO. (February 6, 2018) — This summer, Anderson Ranch Arts Center will honor Ai Weiwei with the International Artist Award, and Bunny and Charles Burson with the Service to the Arts Award at its 22nd Annual Recognition Dinner on July 19, 2018. Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a premier destination in America for art-making and critical dialogue since 1966, celebrates creativity and service to the arts by recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of key figures in the art world.

“Ai Weiwei is one of the top living artists working today, and his artistic output calls attention to the most challenging and divisive issues of our time,” commented Nancy Wilhelms, Executive Director of Anderson Ranch.  “Honoring him dovetails with our mission at the Ranch to be a leading platform for art-making and dialogue on issues in contemporary art.”

“We are also thrilled to Honor Bunny and Charles Burson with the Service to the Arts Award,” continued Wilhelms. “They champion the values of Anderson Ranch, and as artists and leaders in the arts themselves, they also exemplify the focus on excellence, rigor and talent that continues to define our campus.”

“My duty as an artist is to associate myself with freedom of expression, and to spark dialogue around urgent issues facing humanity,” commented Ai Weiwei. “We live in a complex and ever-changing society, and my art calls on people to question and engage with that reality, to respond to history as it happens, and to demand accountability.” Ai continued, “I am honored to be recognized by Anderson Ranch Arts Center for my work.”

“As an artist, I can’t overstate the significance of Anderson Ranch Arts Center within the contemporary art world,” commented Bunny Burson. “The organization is a leader in fostering important ideas and dialogues, and brings out our creative spirit. We’re in awe of the committed faculty, the welcoming staff and the accomplished students from around the globe with whom we are privileged to share our work and lives.”

“We truly consider the Ranch to be a part of us,” added Charles Burson. “We take classes, attend lectures and wholly support the Ranch’s programs, which have changed our lives. We are honored to receive the Service to the Arts Award.”

The Recognition Dinner brings together art world luminaries and supporters for an evening of fun and fundraising, including cocktails, dinner and a live auction.

For information on tables and tickets, please call Anderson Ranch at 970/923.3181 x227.

Proceeds from the evening directly benefit Anderson Ranch educational programs.


The International Artist Award is given to globally recognized artists who demonstrate the highest level of artistic achievement and whose careers have fundamentally influenced contemporary art. Past recipients include Wangechi Mutu, Carrie Mae Weems, Frank Stella, Theaster Gates, Bill Viola, Cindy Sherman, Vik Muniz, Laurie Anderson, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and others.

The Service to the Arts Award is presented to locally and nationally recognized arts advocates who demonstrate the highest level of leadership, integrity and vision. Prior recipients include Jan and Ronnie Greenberg, Eleanore and Domenico De Sole, Jennifer and David Stockman, Debra and Dennis Scholl, Jane and Marc Nathanson and Soledad and Robert Hurst, among others.


Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned for making strong aesthetic statements that resonate with timely phenomena across the world’s geopolitical landscape. Ai’s work spans a wide range of media, including architecture, installation, social media and documentary film, expressing new ways for his audiences to examine society and the values it espouses.

Ai’s most recent exhibitions include: Inoculation at Fundacion Proa in Buenos Aires (2018); Good Fences Make Good Neighbors with the Public Art Fund in New York City (2017-2018); Ai Weiwei on Porcelain at the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul (2017-2018); Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.(2017-2018); Law of the Journey at the National Gallery in Prague (2017-2018); Maybe, Maybe Not at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (2017); and Ai Weiwei. Libero at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2016-2017).

Born in Beijing in 1957, Ai now resides and works in Berlin. Ai is the current Einstein Visiting Professor at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). He is the recipient of the 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International, as well as the 2012 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent from the Human Rights Foundation. Ai’s first feature-length documentary, Human Flow, premiered at the 74th Venice Film Festival.

Bunny Burson

Bunny Burson is an artist native to Memphis, TN. She received a BA in French from Tulane University, spending a year of her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. She graduated with a BFA from the Memphis College of Art and with an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Bunny’s work has been exhibited internationally. Awards include an artist residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and the Washington University School of Design and Visual Arts Award for Distinction. Her recent limited-edition book, Hidden in Plain Sight, was acquired by museums and libraries, including the Library of Congress, the St. Louis Art Museum, Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Olin Library at Washington University, The Memphis Brooks Museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Bunny was Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities during the Clinton administration, and served as Director of Cultural Enrichment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Dieu Donné Papermill in Brooklyn, and a former board member of Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She serves on the National Council of the Washington University School of Design and Visual Arts in St. Louis.

Charles Burson

Charles is originally from Memphis, TN. He received his BA from the University of Michigan, an MA from Cambridge University and a JD from Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Memphis before becoming Tennessee Attorney General. Following his eight-year tenure as Attorney General, he was named by Vice President Al Gore as his White House Counsel, and subsequently served as his Chief of Staff.

In 2000, Charles moved to St. Louis, MO, where he joined Monsanto as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. In 2007, he became Of Counsel to Bryan Cave Law Firm and a lecturer at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where he was later named the university’s first Senior Professor of the Practice. He taught Corporations and The Legacy of Bush v. Gore.

In 2013, Charles began taking photography classes at Anderson Ranch. Through the Center for Advanced Mentored Studies, he reinvented himself as a photojournalist. His most recent body of work centers on the presidential campaign of 2016, and is being produced as a book by Lucia, which will be published and distributed by DAP for release in 2018.

Charles and Bunny Burson have two children, Clare and Kate, and two grandchildren, Lionel and Simon.


Founded in 1966, Anderson Ranch Arts Center is a premier destination in America for art making and critical dialogue, bringing together aspiring and internationally renowned artists to discuss and further their work in a stimulating environment. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, the Ranch hosts extensive workshops for aspiring, emerging and established artists in eight disciplines, including Photography & New Media, Ceramics, Painting & Drawing, Furniture Design & Woodworking, Sculpture, Woodturning, Printmaking and Digital Fabrication.

The Ranch hosts engaging events throughout the year including the Summer Series: Featured Artists & Conversations, which brings together leading artists, curators, collectors and critics; the Recognition Dinner, held in honor of Anderson Ranch’s International Artist Award and Service to the Arts Award honorees (July 19, 2018); the Annual Art Auction & Community Picnic (August 4, 2018), a thirty-seven-year-old tradition which features works of local, national and international artists; and a year-round Artists-in-Residence Program, fostering artistic growth for emerging and established visual artists. For over 50 years Anderson Ranch Arts Center has been working to enrich lives with art, inspiration and community. Learn more at or 970/923.3181.

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Katherine Roberts |[email protected] | 970/923.3181 x 301


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