Matthew Mazzotta: 2019 Guggenheim Fellow

Matthew Mazzotta, Park Spark, 2012.
ACT at MIT

ACT lecturer and alumnus Matthew Mazzotta (SMVisS ’09) has just been awarded a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Fine Arts.

On April 9, 2019, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 168 scholars, artists, and writers. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-fifth competition.

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, forty-nine scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, seventy-five different academic institutions, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from twenty-nine to eighty-five. Forty-nine Fellows have no academic affiliation or hold adjunct or part-time positions.

Edward Hirsch, president of the Foundation, is enthusiastic about the Fellows in the class of 2019: “It’s exceptionally satisfying to name 168 new Guggenheim Fellows. These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best. Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $360 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, National Book Award, and other significant, internationally recognized honors.

The Guggenheim Fellowship program remains a significant source of support for artists, writers, and scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers. New and continuing donations from friends, Trustees, former Fellows, and other foundations have ensured that the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will be able to continue to carry out its historic mission.

Matthew Mazzotta works at the intersection of art, activism, and urbanism, focusing on the power of the built environment to shape our relationships and experiences. He is as much as an inventor as he is an activist using artistic sensibilities to bring real world issues into the social discourse and lead collective public imagining. His community-specific public projects integrate new forms of civic participation and social engagement into the built environment and reveal how the spaces we travel through and spend our time living within have the potential to become distinct sites for intimate, radical, and meaningful exchanges. Through his process, each project starts by creating temporary public spaces for listening – ‘Outdoor Living Room’ – as a way capture voices from local people that might not attend more formal meetings. Stemming from this approach are experiences that involve people from a range of backgrounds working together to create new models of living that contribute to local culture beyond the economic realm.

Matthew’s projects have been named “Architecture Project of the Year” from the Dezeen Awards at the Tate Modern to Huffington Post’s “9 Design Projects Tackling America’s Poverty Crisis, One Community At A Time” and have received dozens of international art and architecture awards such as Architizer’s A+ Award, Azure’s AZ Award, The WAN Award, CODA Award, SXSW Place By Design Award, The Chicago Athenaeum’s American Architecture Award, The Congress for the New Urbanism’s Charter Award, as well as, six of his projects have been recognized by the Americans For the Arts. His work has been featured on CNN, BBC, NPR, The Huffington Post, Discovery Channel, and Science Magazine to name a few, and presented at the Cooper Hewitt – Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC.

Mazzotta received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology, and is a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.

For more information on the Fellows and their projects, please visit the Foundation’s website at http://www.gf.org.