The Japan Art Association on July 9 announced five recipients of the Ninth Praemium Imperiale awards.

The 1997 recipients are: Gerhard Richter of Germany in painting, George Segal of the United States in sculpture, Richard Meier of the United States in architecture, Ravi Shankar of India in music and Peter Brook of Britain in theater/film. The awards, which were established in 1988 at the behest of the late Prince Takamatsu, recognize outstanding artists who have contributed to the development of culture and art.

The recipients of the Ninth Praemium Imperiale were announced July 9 at the Colonna Museum in Rome. Richter, 65, is one of the most influential and widely discussed painters in contemporary art. He has produced a variety of works, including pure abstractions, grisaille and full-color realist paintings. Segal, 72, came to public attention during the 1960s with his life-size plaster figures set among real chairs and a table. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Segal did a number of public commissions that addressed political and social themes, such as “Gay Liberation,” “The Holocaust,” and “In Memory of May 4, 1970”

Four students died on May 4, 1970, when National Guardsmen opened fire at Kent State University in Ohio during a protest of escalating U.S. military involvement in Indochina. Meier, 62, received his architectural training at Cornell University. His work is dominated by explorations of the modernist theme of counterpointing space, form and structure.

Some of his best-known projects include the High Museum in Atlanta and the Bronx Development Center in New York. These have received the National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

Shankar, 77, became popular in the ’60s with the hippie generation, sharing the stage with George Harrison at the Woodstock Festival in 1968. Harrison and Shankar inspired the 1971 Concerts for Bangladesh, the first major music charity event. The soundtrack won a Grammy Award for Best Album in 1972.

Brook, 72, made his reputation as a director of plays by Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare while in his early 20s. In the 50s and 60s, he became successful on Broadway with projects such as Truman Capote’s “House of Flower” and Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade,” for which he won a Tony award. The awards ceremony will be held at the Meiji Memorial Hall on Oct. 22, in the presence of the association’s governor, Prince Hitachi.

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