Hugo Boss Prize 2018
Simone Leigh Receives Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize
The Prize honours Simone Leigh's longstanding and unwavering commitment to addressing black women as both the subject of and audience for her work. Her work will be presented in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, opening in April 2019.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and HUGO BOSS AG announced that artist Simone Leigh has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize 2018. She is the 12th artist to receive the biennial prize and her work will be presented in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, opening in April 2019.
Administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and made possible by HUGO BOSS, the prize was established in 1996 to recognize significant achievement in contemporary art and carries an award of $100,000.
A jury selected Simone Leigh from a short list of six finalists, which also included Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang. The 2018 jurors are Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Dan Fox, writer, editor, AV Director, Frieze magazine; Bisi Silva, Artistic Director, Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; Susan Thompson, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Joan Young, Director, Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The 2018 jury was chaired by Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The Jury explained: “We are pleased to award this year’s Hugo Boss Prize to Simone Leigh, who was selected from a short list of outstanding fellow nominees. Leigh’s singular vision unifies a body of work in sculpture, video, performance, and social projects that deftly joins theory, practice, and form in a tightly coherent oeuvre characterized by a close engagement with the body, the symbolic activation of material, and narrative references to African diasporic histories. Throughout her career, Leigh has consistently expanded the possibilities of ceramics, which is her principal medium and one that has long been undervalued within the mainstream art world (…) We are particularly compelled by Leigh’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to addressing black women as both the subject of and audience for her work, a focus which imagines a recalibration of the outmoded power structures that shape contemporary society. This emphasis on centering the black female experience is profoundly inspiring in its simultaneous radicality and necessity.” The Jury aslo stressed out their applause for Leigh’s sustained mentorship of young female artists and pointed on her impact on a next generation of practitioners.
Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago) lives and works in Brooklyn. Solo presentations of Leigh’s work have been hosted by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Studio Museum in Harlem (Marcus Garvey Park), New York; New Museum, New York (all 2016); Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; Creative Time, New York (both 2014); and The Kitchen, New York (2012). The artist’s work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the Berlin Biennial (2018); Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, New Museum, New York (2017); Unconventional Clay: Engaged in Change, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.; Greater New York, MoMA PS1, Long Island City (both 2016); The Dakar Biennial (2014); Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (traveled to Grey Art Gallery, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco [2012–15]); The Whitney Biennial, New York (2012); 30 Seconds off an Inch, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); The Future As Disruption, The Kitchen, New York (2008); and Intersections: Defensive Mechanisms, Abrons Art Center, New York (2008). Her work has been recognized with awards and honors from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York (2018); Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2017); A Blade of Grass, New York (2016); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York (both 2016); Creative Capital, New York (2012); and the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2011).