Wexner Prize

prize winners

The Wexner Prize honors artists in any field who have demonstrated bold originality, innovation, and creative excellence.

The Wexner Prize is given to contemporary artists whose work has been consistently original, influential, and challenging to convention. These artists are respected and impactful not only within their own fields or disciplines but often across multiple artistic practices.

Awarded in its first year (1992) to theater director Peter Brook and most recently to photographer Annie Leibovitz, the Prize is funded by the Wexner Center Foundation through a gift from its Chairman Leslie H. Wexner (Founder/Chairman/CEO of L Brands) and his wife Abigail Wexner, also a trustee. The recipient is selected by the Wexner Center Foundation trustees, along with the center’s director and senior program staff.

Prize winners receive $50,000 and an engraved silver sculpture (pictured above right) designed in 1991 by artist Jim Dine. The artist has noted that hammers can be used to build and to break apart, symbolizing the often dual nature of the creative force that drives artists in their work. A native of Ohio, Dine served as an early member of the Wexner Center’s International Arts Advisory council.

See below for the full list of Prize recipients.

“That this award comes from the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, noted for its open and generous interest in contemporary art, is not just a plus, but a signal light as to the future of the arts in all our lives. ”

—late choreographer Merce Cunningham, accepting the Prize in 1993

Prize Recipients


Peter Brook
Theater director

Merce Cunningham and John Cage
Choreographer and Composer, respectively

Bruce Nauman
Visual Artist

Yvonne Rainer
Choreographer and filmmaker

Martin Scorsese

Gerhard Richter
Visual Artsist

Louise Bourgeois
Visual Artist

Robert Rauschenberg
Visual Artist

Renzo Piano

William Forsythe

Issey Miyake

Bill T. Jones

Spike Lee

Annie Leibovitz