(Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)
Artist Uta Barth and photographer An-My Lê (pictured) are among this year’s MacArthur fellows, the annual mix of thinkers, writers, artists, geochemists, and pediatric neurosurgeons that are awarded $500,000 in no-strings-attached “genius grants” over five years. “These extraordinary individuals demonstrate the power of creativity,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci, in a press release issued today. “The MacArthur Fellowship is not only a recognition of their impressive past accomplishments but also, more importantly, an investment in their potential for the future. We believe in their creative instincts and hope the freedom the Fellowship provides will enable them to pursue unfettered their insights and ideas for the benefit of the world.” Other 2012 fellows include documentary filmmakers Laura Poitras and Natalia Almada, writer Junot Díaz, International Contemporary Ensemble founder and CEO Claire Chase, and Benoît Rolland, a master bow maker who is experimenting with new designs and materials to create violin, viola, and cello bows for the twenty-first century. Meet all 23 MacArthur fellows here.