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Whitney Museum’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award goes to Tiona Nekkia McClodden

If you have been following the Art Industry for a while, you must be aware that Whitney Museum gives out a Bucksbaum award every year. This award comes with handsome prize money of $100,000 as well. And this award is given to the artist participating in the Whitney Biennial.

Now, we have learnt that this year’s Bucksbaum award has been given to Tiona Nekkia McClodden. This means that Philadelphia-based Tiona has won $100,000 for her work presented at the Whitney Biennial.

In a statement, Whitney’s director Adam Weinberg says that “McClodden’s work is bold and original and her contribution to the Whitney Biennial is extraordinarily rich with cultural, historical, and spiritual resonances,”

Critic Greg Tate, who reviewed the exhibition for ARTnews, has said that McClodden’s work was emblematic of this year’s Whitney Biennial where “women artists of Afro-diasporic descent numerically and ethnically dominate as a group.”

Earlier this year, McClodden told ARTnews that “The Whitney’s proximity to the Meatpacking district is very interesting because of its history with the S&M clubs that were there,” while staging the “Stonewall 50” event that focused on BDSM community of which she is also a member.

She added that “I’m focusing on that community primarily because I’m seeing that the S&M community’s aesthetics are being pushed [into the mainstream] more than the respect for the individuals, their intellect, their identities, the people themselves.”

In the past, the likes of Pope.L, Zoe Leonard, Mark Bradford, and Michael Asher, and others have won the Bucksbaum award and McClodden has been added to the list now.

Talking about McClodden’s work at the Whitney Biennial, the artist has presented her work titled I prayed to the wrong god for you (2019). In this work, the artist shows herself carving a fir tree that she herself felled. The carving is being dedicated to the God Shango which is meant to be a ritual.