The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory

The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges the achievements of cultural protagonists whose work is dedicated to deepening and broadening internationally the knowledge of visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Candidates for the award are international curators, art historians and theorists, writers or critics who come from or are living and/or working in the region and whose work spans Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, respectively.

Named in honour of the distinguished Slovene curator and art historian Igor Zabel (1958–2005), the award, an initiative of the ERSTE Foundation (Vienna), has been conferred biennially in cooperation with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory (Ljubljana).

The award is not by application. The laureate is selected by an international jury, which is appointed by ERSTE Foundation and the Igor Zabel Association. It consists of three members: one artist, one curator and one theorist, where one of the members is from Slovenia. The laureate receives EUR 40,000; additionally, three grants are also awarded each EUR 12,000. Two grants are given by the jury and one by the laureate.

The first award was granted in 2008 in Ljubljana, the city of Igor Zabel. It was awarded to the Croatian curatorial collective What, How & for Whom (WHW). Art historian Piotr Piotrowski (1952–2015) won the prize in 2010, and the Macedonian art historian and curator Suzana Milevska was awarded the prize in 2012. In 2014, it was the Russian curator and art writer Ekaterina Degot who received the award, and in 2016 the Russian curator and art writer Viktor Misiano.