Robert A.M. Stern, James Turrell Among New Members of American Academy of Arts and Letters

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced this year’s slate of freshly elected members, and Robert A.M. Stern is the sole architect to make the cut (the 250-member organization, established in 1898 to “foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts,” has previously welcomed the likes of Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, and Steven Holl into the fold). Among the other newbies are artists Walter De Maria, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Malcolm Morley, and James Turrell. They’ll be inducted in May, along with writers Louis Begley, Michael Cunningham, and Rita Dove and composers Martin Boykan and Aaron Jay Kernis. South African artist William Kentridge is among those who will join as an American Honorary member.

The May ceremony is also when the Academy will present its 2011 architecture awards, which are chosen from a group of 30 architects nominated by members. Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are the recipients of this year’s Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture for their “significant contribution to architecture as an art.” Earning props for “work characterized by a strong personal direction” are William E. Massie of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Julie VandenBerg Snow of Minneapolis, while UCLA architectural historian and critic Sylvia Lavin and Cooper Union dean Anthony Vidler will take home awards for “exploring ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.”