Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott win inaugural Frieze Impact Prize



Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott win inaugural Frieze Impact Prize, in partnership with the Art for Justice Fund

Los Angeles, US (July 28, 2021) – Today, the Art for Justice Fund, in partnership with Frieze and Endeavor Impact, honored artists Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar and Dread Scott as the winners of the inaugural Frieze Impact Prize. This award recognizes artists contributing to the movement to end mass incarceration in the US and those directly impacted by the system. 

Selected by a jury comprising Agnes Gund (Chair, Art for Justice), Ari Emanuel (CEO, Endeavor), Bettina Korek (Chief Executive, Serpentine Galleries) and Pilar Tompkins Rivas (Chief Curator, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art) the winners each receive $25,000 for a work of art relating to the movement to end mass incarceration. Baxter, Gaspar and Scott will present iterations of their winning artworks at the third edition of Frieze Los Angeles, February 17 – 20, 2022.

The purpose of the Frieze Impact Prize is to expose the inequitable aspects of the criminal legal system and challenge its racial bias. Applications to the Frieze Impact Prize were open to U.S. based visual artists aged 18 or older, regardless of citizenship status, felony convictions, or formal training in art, with special consideration given to justice-involved artists.  


Mary Baxter received the prize for her work Ain’t I a Woman, a multi-media installation comprised of audio, video and text, chronicling her life before, during and after incarceration. The work, in Baxter’s words, prompts the viewer to ‘reexamine present day laws, policies and procedures that compound the intersections of motherhood, reproductive justice, crime and punishment.’ Ain’t I Woman, she adds, ‘gives a face to the cruel and unusual punishment pregnant women undergo while incarcerated, utilizing solution-based storytelling and policy reform to articulate a shared vision for abolition.’

Maria Gaspar was selected for her work Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall. Using audio recordings and animations projected onto the exterior of a jail, the project aims to amplify the voices of incarcerated people, while also creating a channel of communication between those on the inside and those on the outside. The work, for which Gaspar worked with over 40 incarcerated people over the course of a year, examines the ways in which Black and Brown bodies are erased and illegitimized within the carceral state, while also highlighting the link between incarceration and neighborhoods, and the role of spatial justice in shaping how we see ourselves and our neighbors.

Dread Scott was awarded the prize for Wanted, a multifaceted community-based project that addresses the criminalization of Black and Latinx youth in the US. The project includes public forums on the criminalization of youth and the creation of ‘Wanted’ posters for activities that aren’t illegal but for which police harass youth. To create the posters, Scott hosted a forensic sketch session during which adult ‘witnesses’ verbally described youth ‘suspects’ to a composite sketch artist, with the resulting images then posted throughout Harlem. The project, for which Scott worked collaboratively with eight young adults whose lives were affected by police, seeks to raise awareness around the routine criminalization of Black and Latinx youth, identifying the process as a stepping stone to incarceration. 


The Frieze Impact Prize draws inspiration from Mark Bradford’s Life Size (2019), a work created from an image of a police body camera isolated on a simple, monochrome background. For Frieze Los Angeles 2020, this powerful image was presented on posters throughout the city, as a large-scale billboard on location at Paramount Pictures Studios and as a limited-edition print series. At Bradford’s behest, proceeds from sales of the print series went directly to the Art for Justice Fund. Founded by Agnes Gund, the “de-carceration” Fund invest in artists and advocates working together to end mass incarceration. The launch of the Frieze Impact Prize honors and extends this commitment to one of the most pressing social issues of our time.


In 2022, Frieze Los Angeles will introduce a new location at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, from February 17 – 20. Frieze Los Angeles is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank, continuing a shared commitment to artistic excellence.

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Artist Biographies

Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter is an award-winning Philadelphia based artist who creates socially conscious music, film, and visual art through an autobiographical lens. Although it has been a decade since her release from a Pennsylvania prison, Mary’s time spent on the inside continues to shape the direction of her art and practice. Her entertaining but poignant works offer a critical perspective on the particular challenges women of color face when they become immersed in the criminal justice system. Her work has been exhibited at venues including MoMA PS1, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary, Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont and HBO’s The OG Experience at Studio 525 in Chelsea.


Baxter is also a 2017 Soze Right of Return Fellow, 2018 and 2019 Mural Arts Philadelphia Reimagining Reentry Fellow, 2019 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee, 2021 Ed Trust Justice Fellow, 2021 SheaMoisture and GOOD MIRRORS Emerging Visionary grantee and 2021 Frieze Impact Prize award winner. 

Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture, sound, and performance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats and durations, including sound performances at a military site in New Haven (Sounds for Liberation); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago and Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives (Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter); and audio-video works, documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood (On the Border of What is Formless and Monstrous).

Gaspar’s projects have been supported by the Art for Justice Fund, the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, the Creative Capital Award, the Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, and the Art Matters Foundation. Maria has received the United States Artists Fellowship, the Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Chamberlain Award for Social Practice from the Headlands Center for the Arts. Gaspar has lectured and exhibited extensively at venues including MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.


Dread Scott is a visual artist whose works are exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag, while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied the federal law outlawing his art by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. He has presented a TED talk on this.

His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center, Jack Shainman Gallery, and Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, South Africa, and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships from Open Society Foundations and United States Artists as well as a Creative Capital grant.

In 2019 he presented Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in US history. The project was featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Christiane Amanpour on CNN and highlighted by as one of the most important artworks of the decade.

Frieze is the world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art for scholars, connoisseurs, collectors, and the general public alike. Frieze comprises three magazines – frieze, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week – and five international art fairs – Frieze London, Frieze Masters, Frieze New York, Frieze Los Angeles and Frieze Seoul (launching September 2022). In addition, this October, Frieze will launch No.9 Cork Street, a hub for visiting international galleries in the heart of Mayfair, London. Frieze is part of the IMG network. 

Art For Justice Fund was founded in 2017 by art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund to end mass incarceration in the United States and the racism that drives it. This initiative, which will conclude in 2023, has already disbursed $90 million to radically reimagine and build a future of shared safety. To date, Art for Justice has made grants to 200+ artists, advocates and organizations. 

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media and is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company. IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media. The company manages some of the world’s greatest athletes and fashion icons; owns and operates hundreds of live events annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in licensing, sports training and league development. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.

Deutsche Bank is the Global Lead Partner for Frieze Art Fairs and 2021 will be the 18th consecutive year they have supported the fair in a partnership that has strengthened and developed over that time. Deutsche Bank has been supporting the work of cutting-edge, international artists for 40 years and has distinguished itself as a global leader in corporate art programs that are part of the Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports commitment. Deutsche Bank believes that engagement with art has a positive impact, not only on clients, visitors and staff but also on the communities in which the bank operates.