Native of Việt Nam wins Hugo Boss Prize

The Vietnamese-born Conceptual artist Danh Võ has won this year’s Hugo Boss Prize, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced on Thursday.

The $100,000 award, established in 1996 by the foundation and named for the German men’s wear and lifestyle company that sponsors it, is given every two years for significant achievement in contemporary art.

“Danh has a wide-ranging repertory of ideas and executes them with relevance and power,” said Richard Armstrong, director of the foundation.

Mr. Võ, 37, has become something of a darling in contemporary-art circles, where his work has been shown in exhibitions including two recent triennials, one at the New Museum in New York this year, and the other in Yokohama, Japan, in 2011.

His work was also recently shown at the Art Institute of Chicago and is still on view at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.

“This year’s list was particularly strong, so it was a difficult choice,” said Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim.

Ms. Spector led the six-person selection jury.

“It was a combination of his transnational sensibility and the subtlety and sophistication with which he works that people were moved by.”

When Mr. Võ was 4, his family fled South  Việt Nam in a homemade boat and was rescued at sea by a Danish ship.

The family members settled in Denmark, and their assimilation into European culture and the events that led up to their flight from  Việt Nam are reflected in Mr. Võ’s art, which juxtaposes the historical and the personal.

The choice of Mr. Võ is in keeping with the generation of artists that has usually won the prize.

In 2010, however, the winner was Hans-Peter Feldmann, the German installation artist, who was then 69, making him the oldest artist to receive the award.

This year Mr. Võ emerged as the winner from a shortlist of artists in their late 20s, 30s and early 40s.

They included:

Trisha Donnelly, an American artist living in New York and San Francisco, whose photographs, drawings, videos, sound and performance pieces often deal with the meaning of time and language;

Rashid Johnson, a Brooklyn-based artist who creates sculptures, photographs and videos about memories, art historical sources, and notions of racial and cultural identity;

Monika Sosnowska, who lives and works in Poland, where she was born, and whose installations explore notions of the built environment;

Tris Vonna-Michell, a British artist living in Stockholm, whose work explores new modes of storytelling with documents and images;


Qiu Zhijie, a Chinese Conceptual artist who lives and works in Beijing and Hangzhou, and whose paintings, photographs, sculptures, and videos comment on political and social issues of contemporary art.

In addition to the monetary prize, an exhibition of Mr. Võ’s work will be on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York early next year.

Source: The New York Times

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