The Hugo Boss Prize, one of the world’s top art awards, tends to seal the success of artists, as evidenced by past winners including Anicka Yi, Simone Leigh, Matthew Barney, and Danh Vo. Now the Guggenheim Museum, which facilitates the prize, has revealed the shortlisted artists for the prize’s 2020 edition, which comes with $100,000 and a solo show at the institution in 2021. Those shortlisted artists are:
- Nairy Baghramian
- Kevin Beasley
- Deana Lawson
- Elias Sime
- Cecilia Vicuña
- Adrián Villar Rojas
Unlike most other art awards, the Hugo Boss Prize doesn’t place limitations on the age, nationality, or career stage for its nominees, and the shortlisted artists run the gamut from emerging Americans to well-established but under-recognized foreigners. Beasley, who is based in New York, is the youngest nominee, having not yet turned 35, while Vicuña, who hails from Chile and is now based in New York and Santiago de Chile, is the oldest, at 71.
The nominees are among today’s most celebrated artists. Lawson, who could become the first photographer to win the award, is set to show a new series of work about the African diaspora in Brazil in July as part of the Bienal de São Paulo, and Baghramian is showing new works merging mechanical and organic forms at the Venice Biennale in Italy. Vicuña is currently exhibiting a painting about her political involvement in New York in the Museum of Modern Art’s new rehang, and Sime, an Ethiopian artist known for his tapestry-like assemblages formed from repurposed and found objects, including computer parts, is now the subject of a traveling survey currently on view at the Wellin Museum of Art in Clinton, New York. (Sime is also building a public garden at a palace in Addis Ababa.) Villar Rojas recently showed a new installation about the transience of certain materials at collector Qiao Zhibing’s private museum in Shanghai, and Beasley made headlines last year with a sound-and-sculpture installation at the Whitney Museum in New York fashioned from a cotton gin motor.
“After a rigorous examination of today’s artistic landscape, the jury identified a group of artists whose practices are beacons of cultural impact,” Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator, said in a statement. “While diverse in their approaches and themes, they each exemplify the spirit of experimentation and innovation that the prize has always championed.”
The jury included Spector as well as Naomi Beckwith, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Katherine Brinson, a contemporary art curator at the Guggenheim; Julieta González, an independent curator; Christopher Y. Lew, a curator at the Whitney; and Nat Trotman, a performance and media curator at the Guggenheim.