Jay Katelansky wins Chazen Museum Prize

The UW-Madison MFA student will bring her installation work to the Chazen in April and May.

One of Katelansky's earlier works, "It Could've Been Anyone"

One of Katelansky's earlier works, "It Could've Been Anyone"

The Chazen Museum of Art's Prize for an Outstanding MFA Student is annually awarded to a graduate student in UW-Madison’s Art Department by a juror from outside of UW-Madison. This year’s juror, Wisconsin native Scott Zieher, a writer, visual artist, and ZieherSmith Gallery co-owner, selected multimedia artist Jay Katelansky for the prize.

Katelansky, a UW-Madison MFA student, met with Tone Madison last fall to discuss the PhantomNegro, a shape-shifting, time-bending imaginary character who comprises the focus of her work. Katelansky spoke of the evolution of the work during her time studying in Madison, and how her “search” for Phantom was influenced and made even more important by the attitude in Madison—a city that has extreme racial disparities but is perceived to be very liberal. The PhantomNegro became a way to open a discourse and allow for new imaginaries and understandings.

“Some people see [Phantom] as a hero, some people see them as a villain, and I think that allows me to further the discourse between different people, because not everyone has the same viewpoint from their race, gender, or class,” Katelansky explained at the time.

Katelansky’s MFA degree will be culminating with Hoodwinked, an exhibition that will explore these differing perceptions of Phantom and the mischief—or magic—Phantom creates. In Katelansky’s words, this exploration will serve “to not necessarily only talk about the mischief of Phantom but also the place Phantom occupies and how that affects the environment. What does the environment look like, and how do the people co-exist with Phantom?”

At the time of our interview with Katelansky last year, Hoodwinked was scheduled to begin on April 1 in the Art Lofts on campus. But as the winner of the Chazen Prize, Katelansky will move the exhibition to the Chazen’s Oscar F. and Louise Greiner Mayer Gallery, where it will be on display April 15 through May 29, 2016 with an opening reception on April 14.

Katelansky has also been announced as facilitator of the ArtWrite Collective’s May 2 workshop at Arts + Literature Laboratory, Art As Activism, part of the collective’s Flourish! workshop series.