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National Academy of Design Elects Mel Kendrick as one of 2023 National Academicians

Mel Kendrick (b. 1949, he/him, Boston, MA) is a conceptual artist.


Kendrick’s practice involves the use of cast bronze, concrete, and a variety of woods, rubber, resin, and cast paper. His sculptures provoke viewers to grapple with the object both as they experience it and as they think about it, and how it was made. 


The Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, recently organized a major retrospective of Kendrick’s work that traveled to the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY. Significant exhibitions began with his solo show at Artists Space, New York, in 1974. His work was later included in The International Survey of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and the following year in the Whitney Biennial. In 2009, Kendrick was commissioned to create five monumental cement sculptures for Madison Square Park.

The National Academy of Design is delighted to announce the election of eight artists and architects as National Academicians. Elected by current National Academy membership in recognition of their contributions to contemporary American art and architecture, the class of 2023 Academicians includes:


Alice Adams (Visual Arts)
Sanford Biggers (Visual Arts)
Willie Cole (Visual Arts)
Torkwase Dyson (Visual Arts)
Richard Gluckman (Architecture)
Carlos Jiménez (Architecture)
Mel Kendrick (Visual Arts)
Sarah Oppenheimer (Visual Arts)

The National Academy is the leading honorary society for artists and architects in the United States. New members are exploring the frontiers of art and architecture, which include forays into experimental uses of traditional mediums and conceptual approaches that question the boundaries of architecture and art as discrete and preconceived disciplines.


The induction of new members follows the opening of the National Academy of Design’s new home in the Chelsea arts district in New York City at 519 West 26th Street. The new space will function as a place of experimentation for the National Academy, a space for inclusive and accessible programming that will showcase Academicians alongside other artists and architects who are working within the current cultural landscape.


The annual nomination and election of National Academicians dates back to the National Academy’s founding as America’s first artist-led arts organization in 1825. New Academicians are nominated and elected by the current members of the National Academy, a community of 431 artists and architects across the country; more than 2,400 artists and architects have been elected since 1825.


“We are thrilled to welcome this remarkable class of newly elected Academicians, the first since the National Academy of Design opened its new home in Chelsea,” noted Gregory Wessner, Executive Director, National Academy of Design. “As the Academy begins an exciting chapter, this election of eight artists and architects–whose work spans mediums and demonstrates breathtaking ambition–reaffirms the Academy’s commitment to recognizing daring work and ideas in contemporary art and architecture.”


Upon election, Academicians have the option to join more than 2,000 of their predecessors and donate a representative example of their work – called the Diploma Work – to the National Academy’s collection. With more than 8,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, architectural drawings and models, and more, the National Academy’s collection has been assembled almost entirely through the donations of its artists and architect members. It is one of the most significant collections of American art and architecture in the world. Forming a collection through the artists’ and architects’ contributions allows them to speak for themselves and to decide how they will be represented–ensuring that the collection includes artists’ and architects’ voices in the historical canon. 


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