Fred Wilson
Guy Ben-Ari
Fred Wilson

Visual artist Fred Wilson has been selected as the 2019 recipient of Brandeis’ Creative Arts Award. The recognition comes with a campus residency. In his work, Wilson challenges assumptions of history, culture and race, as well as conventions of display, and alters traditional interpretations by reframing objects and cultural symbols. In 2003, Wilson represented the U.S. at the 50th Venice Biennale with the solo exhibition “Speak of Me as I Am.” In 1999, he received a MacArthur “genius” grant.

Eight Brandeisians received award nominations this year from Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) for outstanding work in Boston-area theater. For Best Lighting Design (small theater): Jeff Adelberg, lecturer in theater arts; “Frankenstein”; the Nora Theatre and Underground Railway Theater. For Best Supporting Actress in a Play (midsize): Marianna Bassham, MFA’02; “The Last Act”; Israeli Stage. For Best Set Design (small): Janie E. Howland, MFA’93; “Anna Christie”; Lyric Stage. For Best Solo Performance (small): Adrianne Krstansky, the Barbara Sherman ’54 and Malcolm L. Sherman Director of Theater Arts; “Every Brilliant Thing”; SpeakEasy Stage. For Best Actress in a Play (midsize): Lindsey McWhorter, MFA’08; “Anna Christie”; Lyric Stage. For Best Supporting Actress in a Play (small): Samantha Richert, MFA’11; “Dancing at Lughnasa”; Gloucester Stage. For Best Supporting Actor in a Play (midsize): Eddie Shields, MFA’14; “Shakespeare in Love”; SpeakEasy Stage. For Best Music Director (small): Matthew Stern ’08; “Fun Home”; SpeakEasy Stage. Adelberg and Krstansky were named the winners in their categories.

Vocal and dialect coach Beth McGuire, MFA’81, helped Lupita Nyong’o develop her scariest scary voice for her star turn in Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us.” McGuire had worked with Nyong’o to perfect her character’s accent in the 2016 Broadway play “Eclipsed,” set in Liberia.

Brandeis’ Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department has acquired an original, unreleased silent film to add to its extensive Lenny Bruce collection. The untitled 16mm short, which runs 12 1/2 minutes, follows a down-on-his-luck newspaper seller, played by Bruce. The film is believed to have been a collaboration between the comedian and jazz musician “Count” Lewis DePasquale. Brandeis acquired Bruce’s personal papers, photographs and recordings from his daughter, Kitty, in 2014, 48 years after his death from a drug overdose.

Ruth Estévez has joined the Rose Art Museum as senior curator-at-large. She will organize exhibitions and programming, expand interdisciplinary research and scholarship, and advise the museum on key acquisitions. Estévez was formerly an independent curator, writer and stage designer in Mexico City and Los Angeles, and has also served as gallery director and curator at REDCAT/CalArts, in Los Angeles. Her curatorial approach is influenced by her interest in the historical relationship between theater and the visual arts.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has acquired three pieces from 28-year-old Tel Aviv jewelry artist Tamar Paley, last year’s artist-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. The items came from Paley’s HBI exhibition, “A Fringe of Her Own: A Collection of Ritual Objects for Women,” her first show in America, which curators from the MFA visited. To create pieces for the show, Paley re-imagined the Jewish ritual objects tzitzit, tallit and tefillin, typically worn by men, to offer a feminine interpretation of patriarchal religious practice.

Raymond O. Arsenault, MA’74, PhD’81, has earned the Florida Humanities Council’s 2019 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing. Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, has written or edited more than a dozen works on subjects that include the Freedom Riders and singer Marian Anderson. His most recent work is a biography of tennis great Arthur Ashe, published by Simon & Schuster last year.

Actor Tony Shalhoub, known for his work in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Monk” and “The Band’s Visit,” came to Brandeis in February for a Q&A session with Eric Chasalow, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, before an audience in the Wasserman Cinematheque. The Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Tony Award winner advised aspiring actors to work in as many performance mediums as possible, especially theater, “because there is nothing like it as a training ground, and an opportunity to take bigger risk and expand your range.”