Jennie C Jones

Image from Seth Smoot /

Jennie Jones probably jumped for joy when she heard this news: The Studio Museum in Harlem is honoring her with its Wein Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in contemporary art today. A painter and sculptor, Ms. Jones is based out of Brooklyn and centers her work on music and “listening as a conceptual practice.”


Studio Museum Harlem, Afroamerican flag

Studio Museum Harlem, Afroamerican flag
Image: Enric Archivell via Flickr CC

When asked about her work, Jennie Jones explains, “I kept seeing these amazing parallels in ideologies for both disciplines, especially in jazz and abstraction,” she said. “Conceptualism allows these different media to occupy the same space.”

Now the 44-year-old is the seventh person ever to receive the $50,000 prize, which will be presented to her at a gala on February 4th. Started by George Wein, one of the founders of the Newport Jazz Festival, the prize is awarded each year to established or emerging African American artists. His late wife, Joyce Alexander Wein, was a trustee of the museum for many years before her death in 2005 and this prize honors her memory.

For the past decade or so, Ms. Jones has had features in shows both at the Studio Museum and elsewhere in Chelsea. Her work

Jones incorporates Jazz music into her work

Image from

has, in the past, incorporated minimalism, jazz, and other music. This May, she is set to have a solo exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Jennie Jones is being honored with the Wein Prize “not only to celebrate the rigor and strength of her practice, but also because of the

thinking about what this amazingly generous prize could do for her at this point in her career,” said Thelma Golden, who is the Studio Museum’s director and chief curator.