The Mohn Games: Organizers Announce 2012 Results and Future Plans

In August 2012, the Hammer Museum’s inaugural Mohn Award was presented to 30 year-old painter Meleko Mokgosi for his work in the “Made in LA” biennial. The winner was determined through a process that combined jury selection and a public vote for the $100,000 award.

With such high stakes, it’s no surprise that the art community received news of the Mohn Award with mixed response and a great deal of speculation about who might win. As Carol Cheh describes in “The Mohn Games,” (EoB, August 2012), “Earlier this year, before the five finalists were announced, I was among a small group of artists, writers, and curators [when] talk of the Mohn Award came up and we began discussing the odds of who might win. Did the artists exhibiting at the Hammer have a better chance than the artists exhibiting in the two satellite venues [LAXART and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park]? Would the jury favor emerging or more established artists? Could the artists in fact be handicapped according to their exhibition histories, press coverage, and social/professional networks?” The conversation led to the creation of a betting pool that doubled as a conceptual response to the award and the unusual process by which it would be determined.

Despite generating $495 in bets before the five finalists were announced, none of the bets were placed on Mokgosi and, thus, the 2012 Mohn Games concluded without a winner. So, who did the Mohn Game participants vote for?

According to a statement released by the organizers, “Liz Glynn was the clear front runner with 8 bets. Following Glynn were Zackary Drucker and Cayetano Ferrer, who each received 5 bets. Scott Benzel, Channa Horwitz, and Henry Taylor garnered 3 bets each, while Kathryn Andrews, Slanguage, and David Snyder each received 2. The remaining artists, which included finalist Simone Forti, received 1 bet each. The betting pool was subsequently matched by Mohn Award founder Jarl Mohn, bringing the grand total to $990. The pool’s organizers, in consultation with community members, have decided to roll the funds forward, Mega Millions style, to the 2014 Mohn Award. Further hijinks will ensue at that time.”

For more on The Mohn Games and the award that inspired the betting pool, see Carol Cheh, “The Mohn Games,” East of Borneo, August 9, 2012.