Nexus Award

Nexus Award 2015

Honoring Michael Rooks
Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
High Museum of Art

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (The Contemporary) is pleased to announce that Michael Rooks is the recipient of the sixth-annual Nexus Award. Michael Rooks is the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Michael Rooks will receive the Nexus Award at a ceremony and reception to be held at The Contemporary on May 19, 2015.

Support the Nexus Award and honor Michael’s contributions to the landscape of contemporary art in Atlanta by joining the Host Committee. All hosts enjoy VIP status the night of the event with additional benefits to be disclosed shortly. This special evening supports The Contemporary’s exhibitions, education and public programs, and Studio Artist Program.

Host Committee Level

The Nexus Award is a public acknowledgment of individuals, groups, or organizations that have made significant contributions to the contemporary arts landscape and celebrates local leaders who are instrumental in making Atlanta an exceptionally vibrant arts community. The award was established in 2010 and named in recognition of the bold and pioneering spirit of the original founders of Nexus, Inc., a grassroots artist cooperative founded in 1973. Nexus Award winners are recognized for being forward thinking, brave, visionary, generous, and committed to advancing and supporting artists and their creative practice.

“I am so pleased with the response by the community this year to the call for Nexus Award nominations. More than any year prior, The Contemporary received an impressive number of nominations that resulted in an equally impressive list of nominees,” says Julie Delliquanti, Executive Director. “As the committee considered the word nexus as a guiding principle for selecting this year’s recipient, it was clear that Michael Rooks stood out as the leader and community builder who consistently strives to create space and advocate for new connections between contemporary artists and audiences. He has been invaluable in advancing the work and practice of local and regional artists, but has also been instrumental in invigorating the creative and intellectual landscape of Atlanta by presenting the work of nationally and internationally recognized artists.”

Michael Rooks joined the High as Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in January 2010. Besides his responsibilities at the High, Rooks was appointed Commissioner and co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2010 and is a member of ActArt, the President’s committee for contemporary art and social action.

“It is humbling and incredibly meaningful to join this esteemed group of Nexus Award honorees, and become part of The Contemporary’s tradition of fostering contemporary art and dialogue in our city,” says Michael Rooks. “Connecting the High Museum of Art with artists and the people who nurture them in Atlanta has been a priority to me since my first conversation about the position. That responsibility has since become a joy for me personally, an inspiration, and a critically important aspect of what I do. Through its recognition of a High Museum of Art curator, The Contemporary demonstrates a commitment to collaboration which is fundamental to the success we all share and, I believe, is a life source for the arts and culture in Atlanta.”

Exhibitions at the High have included Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice (U.S. Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2010), KAWS: DOWN TIME, and two historical survey exhibitions entitled Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters and Fast Forward: Modern Moments 1913-2013. In conjunction with Fast Forward, Rooks commissioned major projects by Sarah Sze and Aaron Curry. Current and forthcoming exhibitions include Imagining New Worlds: José Parlá and Fahamu Pecou (February 2015), Alex Katz, This Is Now (June 2015), Sprawl: Drawing Outside the Lines (July 2015).

Prior to joining the High, Mr. Rooks held curator positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Contemporary Museum Honolulu, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. At Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Rooks curated several group exhibitions and solo projects in addition to survey exhibitions of work by Roy Lichtenstein (1999) and H.C. Westermann (2001) for which he co-authored Westermann’s catalogue rasionné. As curator at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu Rooks curated more than 15 exhibitions including projects by Michael Lin, Paul Morrison, and Yoshitomo Nara.

To date, the Nexus Award has recognized six outstanding individuals:
2014 – Susan Bridges, Founder and Director of Whitespace Gallery
2013 – Lucinda Bunnen, Photographer, collector, and arts patron
2012 – Lisa Cremin, Director of Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
2011 – Louis Corrigan, Founder of Flux Projects and Possible Futures
2010 – Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; and Dr. Jerry Cullum, Writer, critic, and poet

For more information, contact Veronica Kessenich, Development Director: or 404.688.1970 × 211
Photo: Joeff Davis