For more than 20 years, R.C. Baker has covered the city’s art scene for The Village Voice with fearlessness and affinity for the craft. “Love of art — and hatred of ignorance and nihilism — is why I get up in the morning,” he explains. On Wednesday, Baker was one of 20 writers awarded with a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Arts Writers Grant Program.
Funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and administered by Creative Capital, the grant program awards between $15,000 and $50,000 to writers in four categories: articles, blogs, books, and short-form writing. Among other requirements, grants are awarded to writers who produce work “that is neither afraid to take a stand nor content to deliver authoritative pronouncements, but serves rather to pose questions and generate new possibilities for thinking about, seeing, and making art.”
Baker, who began his career at the Voice in 1987 as a proofreader, won for his short-form writing, including this piece from March of 2016, in which he weaves together art history, memoir, and his collaboration with artist Christian Jankowski.
…it is always heartening to hop on the subway, stroll to the Met, and gaze at an incredibly delicate Greek vase, forever fragile but still with us after 2,500 years. And around the world, serendipity often plays a role, as when a farmer plowing his fields or weekenders exploring a cave stumble upon long-forgotten artifacts. We are plain lucky to know something of our kin from more than 30,000 years ago through their ivory carvings and paintings on cavern walls; some, such as the negative handprints created by blowing pigment around outstretched fingers, reveal astounding conceptual leaps. “I was here,” they communicate over the millennia, a gesture acknowledging the hope that there will always be future generations to discover what we have left behind.
Writers interested in applying for the Arts Writers Grant Program can go here.
You can read more of Baker’s work here. We at the Village Voice could not be more proud. ■
Note: this article from December 2, 2016, was updated in 2023 to replace missing art.