Pratt Institute will honor five distinguished alumni on March 9, 2012 for their exceptional achievements since graduating from Pratt at a private luncheon held in Manhattan. Award recipients include Arem Duplessis, design director for The New York Times Magazine; Ik-Joong Kang, global installation artist; Ted Muehling, award-winning designer; Sylvia Plachy, world-renowned photographer; and Annabelle Selldorf, founder and principal of Selldorf Architects.  

This year’s award ceremony to be held at The Modern, a restaurant designed by a Pratt alumnus, is particularly meaningful as 2012 marks the 125th anniversary of the Institute’s founding in October 1887. “This year’s alumni honorees have contributed iconic works to the worlds of art and design and personify the remarkable talent of Pratt graduates,” said Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte.

Arem Duplessis received a master of science degree in communications design in 1996. As design director for The New York Times Magazine, Arem Duplessis heads a department that was named “Design Team of The Year” by the Art Directors Club for both 2009 and 2010. Under his tenure, the magazine has received more than 75 Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Publication Designers and more than 20 Gold, Silver, and Bronze Cubes from the Art Directors Club. His work has also been recognized by the Type Directors Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and by numerous publications including American Photography, American Illustration, Photo District News, Graphis, Print, and Communication Arts. Duplessis is also a senior portfolio instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and teaches an annual Master’s Workshop at The Danish Design School in Copenhagen. He has lectured throughout the United States and abroad, including London and Oslo.    
Ik-Joong Kang received a master of fine arts degree in 1988. Winner of the Special Merit Award at the 1997 Venice Biennale, Kang has exhibited in museums and public spaces around the world. Mosaic-like and often colossal, his installations explore community, culture, and human interrelation through the complementary lenses of intimate personal experience and global unity. His works are in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He has completed commissions for the United Nations as well as for numerous institutions around the world, most recently public libraries in Iraq and Lebanon. His awards include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant. His Wall of Waiting is an enclosed installation near Korea’s DMZ that incorporates 50,000 drawings by South Korean children along one half a wall, and still awaits 50,000 drawings from children in North Korea to be added to the other half.
Ted Muehling graduated from Pratt’s industrial design program in 1975 and has been designing jewelry and decorative objects inspired by organic forms found in nature for more than 25 years. His work includes multiple as well as one-of-a-kind pieces of precious and semiprecious metals and stones, pearls, plastic, and wood. An intimate observer of the natural world, Muehling considers his work an ongoing effort to experience the familiar anew. In 1990, Muehling opened his first store in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The unique presentations in the store led to increasingly ambitious large-scale projects in partnership with such renowned decorative-arts firms as Nymphenburg, E.R. Butler & Co., Steuben Glass, and J. & L. Lobmeyr Glass. His work is included in numerous public and private collections, and he has been recognized with the Chrysler Design Award and the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award.

Sylvia Plachy received a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic arts in 1965. Plachy is perhaps best known for her work for The Village Voice, where she was a staff photographer for nearly 30 years. She has exhibited widely around the world, and her work has appeared in more than 50 major publications and is held in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. She has published six books, including Unguided Tour (Aperture, 1990), for which she received an International Center of Photography Infinity Award. In the book, recording artist Tom Waits wrote: “Sylvia bones the fish with wild courage and a picture rifle around her neck like clocks and trains that take you to the real carnival of rusty nails, wet boots, and rain along the slow meat wheel. No one’s afraid of Sylvia, she can go anywhere, and she doesn’t scare the birds.” The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Plachy also received the German Society of Photography’s Dr. Erich Salomon Prize, which recognizes “lifetime achievement” in photojournalism.
Annabelle Selldorf received a bachelor of architecture degree in 1985. She is founder and principal of Selldorf Architects, which has earned an international reputation for work that is sensitive to context and program, thoughtful in execution, and timeless in design. The firm has designed a range of public and private projects, including museums, galleries, residences, and a new recycling facility in Brooklyn. The firm undertakes the construction of new buildings as well as the restoration of historic interiors. Its clients include cultural institutions and private foundations such as Neue Galerie in New York; the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. The firm has also designed internationally renowned galleries for Hauser & Wirth in London, New York, and Zurich and the Gladstone, Michael Werner, David Zwirner, and Acquavella galleries in New York. Selldorf is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and president of the board of the Architectural League of New York. She also serves on the boards of the Design Trust for Public Space and the Chinati Foundation.  

From left to right: Arem Duplessis, Ik-Joong Kang, Ted Muehling, Sylvia Plachy, and Annabelle Selldorf. Photos: Robert Maxwell, Woong Chul Ahn, Don Freeman, Sylvia Plachy, and Dean Kaufman.
Amy Aronoff at 718.636.3554 or