Billy X. Named Artist of the Year

In a highly unorthodox move, Minnesota artist Billy X. Curmano has named himself "2012 Artist of the Year" and not just in Minnesota but in the whole world wide world (wwww). The announcement was made in January, but because of the artist's busy schedule the award ceremony will be held much later in the year. Unlike similar "of the year" awards, this one avoids the long wait and jump starts 2012. The distinction of this prestigious award and honorary title is augmented with a $100,000 cash component he plans to pay himself over numerous monthly installments.

Reached for comment in New York City, artist and Franklin Furnace founding director, Martha Wilson was quoted as saying, " Billy Curmano is a world-class artist whose work Franklin Furnace has presented and produced four times:  On February 26, 1988 he performed “Performance Pod” in our performance space; on February 14, 1990 at the Hilton Hotel in mid-town Manhattan he performed “Homeless Hilton”; on July 23, 1997 Franklin Furnace screened “Swimming the Mississippi,” documentation of his decade-long effort to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River; and on October 29, 1999 we netcast this videotape to a worldwide audience through a collaboration with Pseudo Programs, Inc.  Franklin Furnace’s artists are selected by peer review panels from among hundreds of proposals received each year from around the world, a testament to how important the artworld feels his work to be.  I think it is only fitting that be he selected as “Artist of the Year.”

Samples of some of these works can be experienced at the artists web address The former Milwaukeean moved to an isolated farmhouse in the Minnesota outback to develop what he hoped would be a singular style unaffected by the whims and trends of the art world. Circumstances have returned him to a slightly larger community in Witoka. When contacted at his rural studio for this announcement, Curmano was apparently unaware he was even being considered for the award. He simply stated, "I'm truly humbled by this totally unexpected honor. There are so many more deserving artists whole world wide (www)."

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