Press Releases


XL Catlin Art Prize Exhibition

Gallery exhibition: August 22–October 7, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, August 31; 6–9pm

(San Francisco, CA, August 7, 2018) San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is pleased to be the first venue for the nationwide tour of the inaugural XL Catlin Art Prize Exhibition, organized by XL Catlin and the New York Academy of Art. Launched in the United States in December 2017 and building on a ten-year legacy of the Catlin Art Prize in the UK, the XL Catlin Art Prize is devoted to figurative artwork and is one of the premier student art competitions in the US. Forty student artists were selected from over 700 submissions, both undergraduate and graduate, including two students from SFAI: Eunice Liu, a second year MFA in Studio Arts, and Kennedy Morgan, a sophomore in the BFA program in painting.

The exhibition will go on a nationwide tour beginning at SFAI from August 22–October 7 in the flagship gallery at its new campus at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. It will then travel to Chicago where it will be on view at the Linda Warren Projects from November 3–8. The tour finishes in New York City at the New York Academy of Art with an exhibition on view from November 21–29.

"SFAI is pleased to partner with XL Catlin to showcase the continued vitality of figurative art, and proud of the two outstanding SFAI students selected for the exhibition,” says Gordon Knox, SFAI President. “SFAI has a glorious legacy of painting, from Diego Rivera’s monumental mural on our campus, to the school’s role at the heart of Bay Area Figuration, to alumnus Kehinde Wiley’s instantly iconic portrait of President Barack Obama. With adept technique and emotional sensitivity, figurative art explores profound relationships between artist and subject and expands the viewer’s understanding of humanity."

The forty works in the exhibition, which include paintings, drawings, prints, tapestries, and other media, were chosen by an exhibition jury composed of Ian Alteveer, curator for modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum; Laura Hoptman, curator at the Museum of Modern Art; and Kara Vander Weg, director at Gagosian Gallery.

The shortlisted artists are enrolled at 24 different schools and range in age from 19 to 27. The artists hail from 4 countries and 19 states. Six schools had two artists selected: Hunter College, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three shortlisted artists are from Yale University, four from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and five from the New York Academy of Art.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

The Prize

The $10,000 first prize and $3,500 second prize winners will be announced at the closing reception on Wednesday, November 28. Winners will be chosen by renowned artists Nicole Eisenman, Eric Fischl, and Amy Sherald.

In an innovative twist, the Prize also includes an audience award, to be selected via Instagram. Beginning on August 12, individual works will be posted to XL Catlin Art Prize’s Instagram account every 48 hours until all have been shown and the work with the most “likes” on the platform will win $1,500. This will be the first prestigious art prize conducted via the social media platform of Instagram.

The focus of the XL Catlin Art Prize reflects the reemergence of figurative art in the contemporary art world and seeks to support the next generation of American artists. Jennifer Schipf, senior vice president for fine art & specie insurance at XL Catlin said, “Following ten successful years of holding the competition in the UK, the Prize gives us the perfect platform to highlight new artists and provides a unique insight into emerging talent in the US.”

About XL Catlin

XL Catlin is the global brand used by XL Group Ltd’s (NYSE:XL) insurance and reinsurance companies which provide property, casualty, professional, and specialty products to industrial, commercial, and professional firms, insurance companies, and other enterprises throughout the world. Clients look to XL Catlin for answers to their most complex risks and to help move their world forward. To learn more, visit

About The New York Academy of Art

Founded in 1982 by artists, scholars, and patrons of the arts, including Andy Warhol, the New York Academy of Art is a not-for-profit education and cultural institution which combines intensive technical training in drawing, painting, and sculpture with active critical discourse. Academy students are taught traditional methods and techniques and encouraged to use these skills to make vital contemporary art. Through major exhibitions, a lively speaker series, and an ambitious educational program, the Academy serves as a creative and intellectual center for all artists dedicated to highly skilled, conceptually aware figurative and representational art.

About San Francisco Art Institute

Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the practice and study of contemporary art. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides students with a rigorous education in the arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts and art history curriculum, and critical engagement with the world. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and original thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary context.

General Information

San Francisco Art Institute – Fort Mason Campus’s galleries are open to the public Wednesday–Sunday 11am–7pm and are located on Pier 2 within Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, CA.

Galleries are free to the public. For more information, the public may visit or call (415) 749-4563.

Nina Sazevich
Public Relations