The Hugo Boss Prize honors outstanding achievement in contemporary art, celebrating the work of remarkable artists whose practices are among the most innovative and influential of our time. The biennial prize—which marks its 20th anniversary this year—sets no restrictions on age, gender, nationality, or medium. Juried by an international panel of distinguished museum directors, curators, and critics, it is administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and carries an award of $100,000. Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to Matthew Barney (1996), Douglas Gordon (1998), Marjetica Potrč (2000), Pierre Huyghe (2002), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004), Tacita Dean (2006), Emily Jacir (2008), Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010), Danh Vo (2012), and Paul Chan (2014). Work by each artist who receives the award is presented in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The Hugo Boss Prize 2016 winner will be announced on October 20, 2016, and a solo exhibition of that artist’s work will be presented at the Guggenheim in the spring of 2017. The shortlist artists are: Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, Wael Shawky, and Anicka Yi.
About the Prize
The Hugo Boss Prize 2016 Nominees
Tania Bruguera, Hugo Boss Prize 2016 nominee, talks about her performance work and the concept of “artivism,” an art-making practice that challenges power. Bruguera discusses Tatlin’s Whisper #5 (2008), in which mounted police used crowd control techniques on museum visitors, and Immigrant Movement International (2010–15), a project run out of a storefront in Queens, New York.
The Hugo Boss Prize is established in 1996 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and HUGO BOSS to “embrace today’s most innovative and critically relevant cultural currents,” according to Thomas Krens, then the director of foundation. Awarded every two years, the Prize is offered to artists with no limitations on nationality, medium, or age. The jury chooses approximately six finalists before the winner is selected and awarded a monetary prize, which today stands at $100,000.
Initially, the Hugo Boss Prize includes a group exhibition of the six finalists before the Prize recipient is announced. The first exhibition is held in the newly inaugurated Hugo Boss Prize Gallery in the Guggenheim SoHo, housed in lower Manhattan. The finalists—Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Stan Douglas, Yasumasa Morimura, and Cai Guo Qiang—all address performativity in their work in various ways. For instance, Antoni exhibits the installation Slumber (1993), in which she works at a loom in the gallery by day and sleeps there at night. In her woven material, she reproduces the EEG pattern captured by an electroencephalograph wired to her temples during the previous night’s sleep
Matthew Barney is the first winner of the Hugo Boss Prize. At the 1996 exhibition, Barney presents CREMASTER 1, the second installment in what would become an epic five-part film cycle in which the artist creates his own complex and fantastical symbolic system to consider themes of resistance, ambiguity, and sexual development and differentiation.
The 1998 Hugo Boss Prize is awarded to Douglas Gordon, who often transforms extant film to expose hidden meaning about identity, memory, and the construction of narrative. At that year’s exhibition, Gordon shows Hysterical (1995), in which an early 20th-century psychiatric film is projected on two screens, one running at standard speed, the other slowed-down and with the image reversed. The title references the film’s pseudo-educational content, which demonstrates the proper method for subduing a woman suffering from “hysteria,” and also addresses the contemporary viewer’s inclination to laugh at these absurd and outdated notions for addressing female psychological distress.
The Hugo Boss Prize aims to recognize artists from around the world working in diverse media. To that end, the jury—comprised of critics and curators—also reflects a wide range of interests and practices. Among the 1998 jury’s distinguished members are curator and art historian Hans-Ulrich Obrist; curator Okwui Enwezor, then artistic director of Documenta 11; and the esteemed art historian and curator Robert Rosenblum.
The Hugo Boss Prize frequently recognizes artists working in modes that challenge the boundaries of traditional artistic practice. In 2000, for instance, the architect Marjetica Potrč receives the Prize for her work exploring the relationship between architecture and community, particularly regarding concerns about safety, sustainability, and beauty. For this edition of the Prize, instead of a group show including work by all the finalists, the exhibition features only the work of the winner. This becomes the format for all subsequent cycles of the Prize. Potrč’s projects often address issues of privacy and publicity in urban housing. With Skeleton House (2001), part of her Guggenheim exhibition, Potrč presents a model for government-subsidized housing units outfitted with the bare basics—floor, roof, plumbing—that the residents complete with exterior and interior walls, transforming the units into personalized homes.
The work of Maurizio Cattelan, one of the finalists in 2000, is subsequently the subject of a Guggenheim exhibition in 2011–12: Maurizio Cattelan: All. The exhibition features the artist’s entire artistic output suspended from the ceiling in the space of the museum’s iconic rotunda. Known for his critiques of both cultural and political authority, Cattelan devises a gesture that rejects a traditional approach to the retrospective exhibition format, forgoing chronological or thematic groupings, didactic wall labels, or standard presentation on gallery floors and walls.
Pierre Huyghe is the winner of the 2002 Hugo Boss Prize. On view in his exhibition are two installations: L’Expédition Scintillante, Act II: Untitled (light show) (2002)—a smoke-and-light filled box playing an Erik Satie composition—and Les Grands Ensembles (1994–2001), which consists of two videos showing housing towers set in a deserted landscape, recalling certain projects constructed in 1970s Paris. “These subsidized public projects ended up being an architectural and social failure,” explains Huyghe. “They were a corruption of Le Corbusier’s social and architectural modernist theory.”
Upon winning the 2004 Hugo Boss Prize, Rirkrit Tiravanija presents a participatory work that enlists visitors in the production of broadcast media. For Untitled 2005 (the air between the chain-link fence and the broken bicycle wheel) he creates a low-power television station using the airwaves within the Guggenheim galleries. With text explaining the constraints imposed on open communication by FCC regulatory laws and instructions for building your own at-home closed-circuit station, the work empowers consumers of mass media to employ its mechanisms in service of their own free expression.
Winners of the Hugo Boss Prize are announced at the Guggenheim Museum during a celebration that often features well-known DJs, such as Sky Nellor, who is the party’s DJ in 2004; Sebastien Perrin in 2010; and Sean Drake, who is the DJ at the announcement party for the 2006 edition of the Prize.
Known for films that address obsolete technology and abandoned buildings, 2006 Prize-winner Tacita Dean exhibits four new works in her show at the Guggenheim. One of these pieces, Kodak (2006), documents the final days of one of the last factories to produce 16 mm film. As Dean notes regarding her interest in issues of obsolescence, “Everything that excites me no longer functions in its own time.”
Tortillas Construction Module, a work by Damián Ortega, one of the Hugo Boss Prize finalists in 2006, is included in the Guggenheim’s 2014 exhibition Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today. Ortega investigates commonly used objects for their political and social import. Tortillas Construction Module (now in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection) is a case in point. Treating scored tortillas as building blocks, Ortega creates a sculpture that could be assembled in multiple ways, suggesting the power of local solutions to flexibly respond to regional challenges.
The winner of the 2008 Prize, Emily Jacir, often creates projects that highlight lost Palestinian history. Her Hugo Boss Prize exhibition features two parts of her Material for a Film (performance) (2005–06). The work centers on the life of Wael Zuaiter, a poet and translator who was assassinated by the Israeli secret service because he was mistakenly thought to be a member of Black September, the group responsible for the killing of Israeli athletes and trainers at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
One of the finalists for the 2008 Prize, Patty Chang, uses video and performance to critique Orientalizing images of Asian women and the expectation of female passivity. With In Love (2001)—a work in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection—she explores relationships between parents and children, with their inherent intimacies and disappointments. This dual-channel video features Chang with her father on one screen, and herself with her mother on the other. The videos show Chang and each parent as they bite into an onion, crying from its sting, and are played in reverse as if to travel back to the start of their relationships.
In 2010, Hans-Peter Feldmann, a German artist who often constructs archives and typologies using found images, wins the Hugo Boss Prize at the age of 70. In a public program related to the exhibition, the Guggenheim hosts a discussion between Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Feldmann, who published the book Interview together that year. The Q&A-style book features questions from Obrist answered by photographs from Feldmann. In describing his development as an artist, Feldmann says he had turned to art as a way to survive “the boredom and survival mentality of postwar Germany.”
After winning the Prize, Hans-Peter Feldmann says, “When I heard I could make a show in one of the galleries here in the museum . . . I got the idea that I would like to show them the prize I won . . . because for a person of my generation a hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money and for an artist it’s even incredible. In the ’60s, ’70s, when I was socialized with art, there was no way to connect money with art. Artists were poor people and they never got any money for it, and the idea to win a hundred thousand dollars is something else, so I said I want to see the money on the wall all together.” For his exhibition, Feldmann pins a hundred thousand one-dollar bills to the walls of one of the museum’s galleries.
2012 Prize winner Danh Vo designs his Guggenheim exhibition using thousands of objects from the collection of the artist Martin Wong. The work directly confronts ideas of appropriation and influence in the work of artists across generations. In her New York Times review of The Hugo Boss Prize 2012: Danh Vo I M U U R 2, Roberta Smith writes that exhibiting Wong’s collection is “consistent with Mr. Vo’s penchant for assembling objects, images, and documents to create ambiguous narratives about the fluidity of cultural identity and history and the ways these larger currents affect individual lives. . . . ‘I M U U R 2’ has a robustness all its own. It is certainly Mr. Vo’s most colorful and encompassing work. It comes at you from all sides.”
Guggenheim curator Katherine Brinson writes of the 2012 finalists, “The lion’s share of their practice often exists in the form of research, with the objects and images presented in their exhibitions existing as remnants of lengthy discursive investigations or social exchanges.” Tris Vonna-Michell’s Auto-Tracking (2009) illustrates Brinson’s point: Vonna-Michell assembles film, photos, and ambient sounds to create a narrative about the decay of Detroit and its role as symbol of American dystopia. When the work is presented at the Kunsthalle Zurich, the artist interacts with viewers so that together they add to a story about the Motor City that is part fiction, part fact.
Paul Chan, the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize, has a wide-ranging practice that encompasses documentary videos, animated projections, charcoal drawings, conceptual typefaces, and public performance. His exhibition at the Guggenheim, The Hugo Boss Prize 2014: Paul Chan, Nonprojections for New Lovers, included his recent series Nonprojections (2013–)—a body of work comprised of video projectors and jury-rigged, power-conducting shoes—as well as a composition of white nylon fabric set in motion by industrial fans, which the artist describes as a sculptural animation. Also integral to the exhibition is a new series of books from Chan’s press, Badlands Unlimited. Entitled New Lovers, the books are authored by emerging writers working in the genre of erotica.
Among the finalists for the 2014 prize is Indian artist Sheela Gowda, whose process-oriented, multimedia practice incorporates sculpture, installation, and photography. Gowda lives and works in Bangalore; her photographic and watercolor work Loss, now in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, is part of the museum’s 2013 exhibition No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia.
The finalists for the 2016 Prize are Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, Wael Shawky, and Anicka Yi. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced in October 2016 and will be featured in an exhibition at the Guggenheim opening in the spring of 2017.
Original source: Guggenheim.org