The U.S. Department of State will honor contemporary artists Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer, Wolf Kahn, Imran Qureshi, Pat Steir, and Rachel Whiteread with the International Medal of Arts at the biennial ceremony on January 12 in Washington, D.C.

The International Medal of Arts is awarded to artists who demonstrate an enduring commitment to the Art in Embassies mission of cultural diplomacy through the visual arts and international cultural exchange. Recipients have helped define America’s cultural legacy through their artistic excellence and diplomatic contributions. Their artwork serves as a bridge with other nations, encourages discussion and expression and highlights the communal experiences of people from countries, cultures, and backgrounds worldwide.

On January 11, in conjunction with the ceremony, Nick Cave, Imran Qureshi, and Pat Steir will be featured in a panel discussion at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s museum of modern and contemporary art. The event inaugurates a new, long-term partnership between Art in Embassies and the Hirshhorn, designed to promote cultural dialogue.

Art in Embassies was initiated by the Museum of Modern Art in 1953 and formalized as part of the Department of State by the Kennedy Administration in 1963. Over 55 years, AIE’s global focus of cultural diplomacy through the visual arts has engaged over 23,000 partnerships with individual and institutional participants in over 200 venues in 189 countries worldwide.

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