Best Local Artist - 2008
Juan William Chávez
Two thousand and eight may have been the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac, but for the St. Louis art scene it was the Year of the Chávez. Juan William Chávez began the year by winning (along with artists Corey Escoto and Michelle Oosterbaan) the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis' Great Rivers Biennial 2008. While his work was still hanging in the Contemporary, Chávez's drawings could also be seen at two other city galleries, for a time making him seem nearly omnipresent on the city's art scene. Oh, and did we mention? Chávez did all of this while running his gallery, Boots Contemporary Art Space, and publishing bootprint, a journal of contemporary art that's distributed internationally. It's enough to make the rest of us feel, well, a little ratty.