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2005 Johnson Prize Winner

Dave McKenzie


Dave McKenzie was awarded the 2005 William H. Johnson Prize of $25,000. A distinguished jury selected McKenzie in December, 2005 after reviewing applications from talented African American artists from throughout the United States. The jury also awarded a single Finalist Prize of $2000 to Rodney McMillian.

McKenzie was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1977 and lives and works in Brooklyn. He recieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, in 2000 and was an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine in 2000. He also was an artist in residence at the P.S. 1 National Studio Program, New York in 2001-2002 and at The studio Museum in Harlem in 2003-2004

McKenzie makes art in an effort to move himself closer to other people and to bring people closer to him. His art projects take various forms ranging from single objects and multiples to ongoing performances. A perfect example of his work is While Supplies last (2003). For this project he created five hundred bobble head sculptures of his likeness. They were then given away during an exhibition at the Sculpture Center in New York. Each bobble head is like a handshake that can be accepted or rejected. It was a moment for Mckenzie to say, "Hello, I am here!"

In the last several years, McKenzie has had solo exhibitions including Together is Forever, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 2004 and Portrait as a Ghost, Savage Art Resources, Portland, Oregon, 2005. His work has also been included in significant group shows including Freestyle, Studio Museum in Harlem, 2001; Queens Internation, Queens Museum of Art, New York, 2002; Listening to New Voices, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, 2002 and Figuratively, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2004.

The 2005 William H. Johnson Prize jury consisted of Romi Crawford, Director, Visiting Artist Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Sam Durant, Artist and Instructor, Cal Arts; Glenn Ligon, Artist; Eungie Joo, Director and Curator, Redcat, Los Angeles; and Franklin Sirmans, Independant Curator, New York.


While Supplies Last, 2001
Sculpture and Event

We Shall Overcome, 2001
Still from video

Portrait as a Ghost, 2004
2 1/2 x 2 x 2 inches
Clay and acrylic paint

Watch The Sky, 2004
Still from video

Small Monument, 2004
45 x 32 x 91 inches
Foam core and cardboard