Textile Artist Gary Tyler Wins 2024 Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize

Gary Tyler has been awarded the 2024 Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize for his textile art. This recognition comes with a $25,000 award and a solo presentation at Frieze Los Angeles, where he will showcase new works. This prize honors artists focusing on social justice, and Tyler was selected in collaboration with the Center for Art and Advocacy’s Right of Return Fellowship.

Tyler’s art draws from his wrongful incarceration experience, using quilting to portray his life and others’ lives affected by the prison system. In 1974, Tyler was just 16 when he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He spent the following 42 years in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana, including many years on death row, before his conviction was twice commuted and he was eventually released in 2016. During his time incarcerated, Tyler learned traditional quilting techniques, about which he said “I had found my calling.”

The artist’s remarkable journey from wrongful incarceration to winning the 2024 Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize underscores the transformative power of art in addressing profound societal issues. His textile works not only narrates his own story but also casts light on the broader narratives of those entangled within the criminal justice system.

The Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize, initiated in 2022, honors artists whose works address social justice themes and significantly influence society. It celebrates the intersection of art and activism, spotlighting creators who use their platform to provoke thought, dialogue, and change regarding pressing societal issues. This annual prize not only brings attention to the transformative power of art but also supports the artists with financial aid and exhibition opportunities, amplifying their impact within the community and beyond.

This recognition by Frieze propels Tyler into a wider arena of influence, offering a solo platform at one of the art world’s premier events. It underscores a growing acknowledgment of art’s role in societal transformation, celebrating creators like Tyler who navigate personal trauma to foster dialogue, healing, and understanding.