American artists have made a strong showing, accounting for half of the six finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize 2018.
This year’s finalists include Simone Leigh, Frances Stark and Wu Tsang from the U.S., and Bouchra Khalili from Morocco, Teresa Margolles from Mexico and Emeka Ogboh from Nigeria. Women outnumbered men this edition by four to two. In addition to the international acclaim, the winner will land an exhibition at the Fifth Avenue museum in 2019 and a $100,000 cash prize administered through the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The winner will be named next fall.
Dividing her time between Berlin and Oslo, Khalili, works in film, video and photography exploring subjects like migration, language and belonging. Through her sculptures, installations and actions, Margolles addresses darker matters like violence, death and poverty — sometimes incorporating bodily fluids sourced from bloodshed or traumatic experiences. Another two-city artist, Ogboh travels between Lagos and Berlin concentrates on sound installations to capture specific elements of a hub to examine nationalism and xenophobia at times.
From her studio in Los Angeles, Stark paints, draws, does collage, video, performance and digital performances to examine the human condition. The Brooklyn-based Leigh also works in a range of mediums — sculpture, video and socially engaged performances. She is known for social-practice projects that center on black female subjectivity with a focus on community, healing, and self care. Her first solo show is slated for September at the Luhring Augustine gallery.
Tsang, meanwhile, delves into nightlife, club culture and historically marginalized queer and transgender communities through his films, video and performances that highlight the body in motion. He has also entwined a dialogue with the poet and theorist Fred Moten in his work.
The Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator, Nancy Spector, who chairs the jury, said, “We are pleased to join with Hugo Boss in this long-term commitment to celebrating the most important and impactful artists of their time.”
First introduced in 1996, the award has been given to a wide range of now-accomplished artists including Matthew Barney, Douglas Gordon, Paul Chan and more recently in 2016 Danh Vo. But just making it to the final round is an honor that was achieved by standouts like Laurie Anderson, Cai Guo-Qiang, William Kentridge, Rashida Johnson, Sheela Gowda and Ralph Lemon. True to the nature of the award, the 2018 finalists hail from different disciplines and “each pursues deeply existential inquiries into individual struggles as well as those with broader social resonances.” according to a statement from the jury.
Mark Langer, chief executive officer and chairman of Hugo Boss AG, said the award “is a very special and unique project in our arts program and we are extremely excited about this year’s short list.”