Meet the 2018 MacArthur Fellows

"Working in diverse fields, from the arts and sciences to public health and civil liberties, these 25 MacArthur Fellows are solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities. Their exceptional creativity inspires hope in us all."

—Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director, MacArthur Fellows Program

  • Profile portrait of Matthew Aucoin

    Matthew Aucoin

    Composer and Conductor

    Expanding the potential of vocal and orchestral music to convey emotional, dramatic, and literary meaning

  • Profile portrait of Julie Ault

    Julie Ault

    Artist and Curator

    Redefining the role of the artwork and the artist by melding artistic, curatorial, archival, editorial, and activist practices into a new form of cultural production

  • Profile portrait of William J. Barber II

    William J. Barber II

    Pastor and Social Justice Advocate

    Building broad-based fusion coalitions as part of a moral movement to confront racial and economic inequality

  • Profile portrait of Clifford Brangwynne

    Clifford Brangwynne

    Biophysical Engineer

    Using the principles of soft matter physics and cell biology to illuminate novel mechanisms of cellular compartmentalization that drive biological development

  • Profile portrait of Natalie Diaz

    Natalie Diaz


    Drawing on her experience as a Mojave American and Latina to challenge the mythological and cultural touchstones underlying American society

  • Profile portrait of Livia S. Eberlin

    Livia S. Eberlin

    Analytical Chemist

    Developing mass spectrometry-based methods to differentiate more quickly and accurately diseased from healthy tissues during surgery

  • Profile portrait of Deborah Estrin

    Deborah Estrin

    Computer Scientist

    Designing open-source platforms that leverage mobile devices and data to address socio-technological challenges such as personal health management

  • Profile portrait of Amy Finkelstein

    Amy Finkelstein

    Health Economist

    Formulating robust empirical methods to illuminate the hidden complexities of health care policy and provide data-driven guidance for future innovations in theory and practice

  • Profile portrait of Gregg Gonsalves

    Gregg Gonsalves

    Epidemiologist and Global Health Advocate

    Working at the intersection of human rights and public health research and practice to address inequities in global health

  • Profile portrait of Vijay Gupta

    Vijay Gupta

    Violinist and Social Justice Advocate

    Providing musical enrichment and valuable human connection to the homeless, incarcerated, and other under-resourced communities in Los Angeles

  • Profile portrait of Becca Heller

    Becca Heller

    Human Rights Lawyer

    Mobilizing the resources of law schools and law firms to defend the rights of refugees and improve protection outcomes for many of the world’s most at-risk populations

  • Profile portrait of Raj Jayadev

    Raj Jayadev

    Community Organizer

    Creating a model of grassroots collective action that enables individuals facing incarceration, their families, and their communities to play an active role in their defense

  • Profile portrait of Titus Kaphar

    Titus Kaphar


    Highlighting the lack of representation of people of color in the canon of Western art with works that deconstruct the literal and visual structure of the artwork

  • Profile portrait of John Keene

    John Keene


    Exploring the impact of historical narratives on contemporary lives and re-imagining the history of the Americas from the perspective of suppressed voices

  • Profile portrait of Kelly Link

    Kelly Link

    Fiction Writer

    Pushing the boundaries of literary fiction in works that combine the surreal and fantastical with the concerns and emotional realism of contemporary life

  • Profile portrait of Dominique Morisseau

    Dominique Morisseau


    Examining the intersection of choice and circumstance in works that portray individuals and communities grappling with economic and social changes

  • Profile portrait of Okwui Okpokwasili

    Okwui Okpokwasili

    Choreographer and Performer

    Making visible the interior lives of women whose stories of resistance and resilience have been left out of dominant cultural narratives

  • Profile portrait of Kristina Olson

    Kristina Olson


    Advancing the scientific understanding of gender and shedding light on the social and cognitive development of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth

  • Profile portrait of Lisa Parks

    Lisa Parks

    Media Scholar

    Exploring the global reach of information technology infrastructures and the cultural, political, and humanitarian implications of the flow of information

  • Profile portrait of Rebecca Sandefur

    Rebecca Sandefur

    Sociologist and Legal Scholar

    Promoting a new, evidence-based approach to increasing access to civil justice for low-income communities

  • Profile portrait of Allan Sly

    Allan Sly


    Applying probability theory to resolve long-standing problems in statistical physics and computer science

  • Profile portrait of Sarah T. Stewart

    Sarah T. Stewart

    Planetary Scientist

    Advancing new theories of how celestial collisions give birth to planets and their natural satellites, such as the Earth and Moon

  • Profile portrait of Wu Tsang

    Wu Tsang

    Filmmaker and Performance Artist

    Creating new conceptual and visual vocabularies for exploring hidden histories and marginalized narratives in works that collapse the boundaries between documentary and fiction

  • Profile portrait of Doris Tsao

    Doris Tsao


    Uncovering the fundamental neural principles that underlie one of the primate brain’s most astonishing capabilities: perception of the visual world

  • Profile portrait of Ken Ward Jr.

    Ken Ward Jr.

    Investigative Journalist

    Revealing the human and environmental toll of natural resource extraction in West Virginia and spurring greater accountability among public and private stakeholders

Artists Selected for Fellows 40th Anniversary Exhibition thumbnail

Artists Selected for Fellows 40th Anniversary Exhibition

The Smart Museum of Art has announced 28 MacArthur Fellow artists who will take part in Toward Common Cause, an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows program.
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