The award is named after monologist Spalding Gray, who died in 2004, and is sponsored by the consortium that includes Kathleen Russo, Gray's widow; the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; On the Boards in Seattle; Performance Space 122 in New York; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
The award includes a $20,000 commission to create a new work and provides for a full production of that work by each sponsoring organization.
"Over the past two decades, Richard Maxwell has developed a distinctive and essential voice," Philip Bither, senior curator, Performing Arts at the Walker Art Center, said in a statement. "His influence on theatre and contemporary performance, both in the U.S. and abroad, has been profound. Personally, I find his spare, poetic language, and the stripped-to-the-bone directorial approach he applies to his plays to be tremendously powerful. He is more than deserving of the Spalding Gray Award."
"It's a great honor to receive the Spalding Gray Award," added Maxwell. "I feel fortunate to be included in the roster of past winners, and I also feel grateful to know Spalding's work, to have seen it live, and to even have encountered Spalding on occasion, e.g. as he cheerfully darted inside to use the downstairs phone at the Performing Garage. Spalding and his work helped define for me what it means to be a non-native New Yorker: entering and acclimating as a nervy transplant, I was helped along by Spalding's wry recounting of his experiences in the city and around the world.
In his new work, Maxwell will collaborate with choreographer Sarah Michelson, who will take charge of the production's design, and actor Gary Wilmes.