Kirk Savage has recently become the seventh University of California Press author to be honored with the prestigious Charles C. Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian American Art Museum for his book, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape.
The prize, which was first awarded in 1989, is named for University of Kansas Distinguished Professor of American Art and Culture Charles C. Eldredge, who is a former director of the museum and founded the American Art Forum. Past winning UC Press titles include Pop L.A.: Art and the City in the 1960s by Cécile Whiting (2009) and Picturing the City: Urban Vision and the Ashcan School by Rebecca Zurier (2007).
Granted to books that demonstrate outstanding scholarship in the field of American art, the prize includes a cash award of $3000 for the author. Factors taken into account when determining the prize’s winner include originality of research, the impact of the book on debates in the field and whether the book breaks through traditional boundaries.
The jurors who awarded Savage the prize called his work “wide ranging and deeply nuanced.”
“In part by design, in part by happenstance, the evolution of the Mall has been, Savage argues, a two-century tale of eloquent, shifting national self-definition. A relic-less site of civic pilgrimage, this public space with its monuments, vistas, urban forests and mass demonstrations, has proven a powerful battle ground of warring ideologies but also a site of national consensus-building,” they wrote in a press release.
Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, said, “Kirk Savage has written a compelling book about the history of one of the most important civic spaces in the United States that contributes an important perspective to the ongoing discussion of the role of the National Mall.”
Savage is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to his recent award-winning book, he is the author of “Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America”.