On Thursday night, Hugo Boss flew in several of its more notable brand stewards to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York to witness the presentation of its annual prize for contemporary art.
Kate Bosworth, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Joshua Jackson and Nicola Peltz, the young actress best known for the last “Transformers” movie, watched as Paul Chan won the $100,000 prize, which includes an exhibit at the museum next spring.
This story first appeared in the November 24, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Chan, considered the front-runner ahead of the award by art-world observers, is an artist who works in several disciplines, including sculpture and video, though recently he launched an independent book publisher, called Badlands Unlimited.
The Hong Kong-born, New York-based 41-year-old beat out four other artists: the German painter Charline von Heyl; Camille Henrot, who works primarily in video and film; the multidisciplinary Egyptian artist Hassan Khan and the Indian Sheela Gowda, who works mainly with sculptures and installations.
Chan said he’ll use the money to support Badlands, which will publish a series of books, called “New Lovers,” next year, timed to coincide with the release of the film adaptation of “50 Shades of Grey.”
“It’s a series of new erotic romances written by young women writers,” he said. “There’s so many books out there in the world, but the ones that sell tend to be genre books — science fiction, thrillers and erotica. As a commercial publisher, I have to figure out how to stay solvent, and I don’t want to publish science fiction or thrillers, so why not publish erotica?”
The actors were mainly there for the brand and its women’s wear creative director Jason Wu. “He makes clothes for women so well,” said Robbie, who was wearing a power suit. “I feel like I’m running an empire.” And they did not exaggerate their familiarity with the artists. “The woman who uses different mediums on a canvas,” Bosworth said of, apparently, von Heyl, when asked to name the finalist she favored. “It’s obvious it takes a lot of work, but you can see the thought behind it. It’s pushed just enough,” she said. Eastwood, ever Clint’s son, was more blunt. Did he know any of the artists? “No. Not at all. It’s contemporary art, which, to be honest, is not my favorite.”