Deana Lawson Awarded Hugo Boss Prize 2020

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Yves Müller, CFO and Spokesperson of the Board of HUGO BOSS AG, announced today that Deana Lawson has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize 2020. She is the thirteenth artist to receive the biennial prize, which was established in 1996 to recognize significant achievement in contemporary art. Selected by a jury of international critics and curators, Lawson receives an honorarium of $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, opening in spring 2021. Administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Hugo Boss Prize and the exhibition is made possible by HUGO BOSS.

“On behalf of our jury, I am delighted to announce Deana Lawson as the recipient of the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize,” said Armstrong. “Lawson is the first artist working in photography to be recognized with the award in its history, and her contribution to the medium and the larger cultural landscape is indelible. We are grateful for our partnership with HUGO BOSS, which spans over two decades and has played a critical role in shaping the Guggenheim’s contemporary program.”

“The Hugo Boss Prize marks a highlight in our partnership with the Guggenheim Museum and we are proud that it has been at the core of our arts program for almost twenty-five years,” noted Müller. “We would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to Deana Lawson and express our gratitude to the jury and the Guggenheim Museum for their dedication and support in this project.”

For this year’s prize, in recognition of the remarkable achievements of the nominees and the challenges presented by the current global pandemic to the field, HUGO BOSS will award each of the remaining short-listed artists an extraordinary honorarium of $10,000.

The short list for the 2020 award comprised Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran); Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.); Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.); Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948, Santiago, Chile); and Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980, Rosario, Argentina).

The jurors for the current cycle are Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Katherine Brinson, Daskalopoulos Curator, Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Julieta González, independent curator; Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; and Nat Trotman, Curator, Performance and Media, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Video profiles created on the occasion of the prize that document the creative process of each of the six finalists are posted on youtube.com.

Jury Statement

“At the outset of our recent jury deliberations, we collectively acknowledged that each of the nominated artists is an extraordinary creative force whose work has deeply impacted our own curatorial perspectives. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in their respective practices in the year between the announcement of the short list and now, and commend their singular achievements. In this moment of accelerated cultural transformation, we were galvanized by the fact that the Prize and its associated exhibition have historically functioned as a platform for new artistic propositions and possibilities. With this in mind, we have chosen to honor Deana Lawson, an artist who offers compelling new modes of seeing and imagining.

“Lawson brilliantly negotiates the legacies of vernacular, documentary, and conceptual photography to create indelible tableaux of Black colloquial life. While appearing to be images of actual families, friends, and lovers, her large-format works are in fact highly staged, cast, and choreographed, grounding their subjects in aesthetically rich material environments even as they gesture toward an ethereal elsewhere­—a deft, remarkable feat. Throughout her oeuvre, Lawson employs a number of formal and conceptual strategies that we believe will occupy viewers and scholars for generations to come. We are particularly excited that she is the first photographer to receive the Hugo Boss Prize, an indication that her singular approach, at once socially humane and technically incisive, is transformative of both the medium and the very concept of representation.”

Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.) lives and works in New York. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions including Deana Lawson: Centropy, Kunsthalle Basel (2020); Deana Lawson, Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam (2019); Deana Lawson: Planes, The Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Deana Lawson, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018); Deana Lawson, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017); Deana Lawson, The Art Institute of Chicago (2015); and Corporeal, Light Work, Syracuse, N.Y. (2009).

Hugo Boss Prize History

Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to twelve innovative and influential contemporary artists: Matthew Barney (1996), Douglas Gordon (1998), Marjetica Potrč (2000), Pierre Huyghe (2002), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004), Tacita Dean (2006), Emily Jacir (2008), Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010), Danh Vo (2012), Paul Chan (2014), Anicka Yi (2016), and Simone Leigh (2018). The related exhibitions have constituted some of the most compelling presentations in the museum’s history.

Previous finalists are Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Cai Guo-Qiang, Stan Douglas, and Yasumasa Morimura in 1996; Huang Yong Ping, William Kentridge, Lee Bul, Pipilotti Rist, and Lorna Simpson in 1998; Vito Acconci, Maurizio Cattelan, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Tom Friedman, Barry Le Va, and Tunga in 2000; Francis Alÿs, Olafur Eliasson, Hachiya Kazuhiko, Koo Jeong-a, and Anri Sala in 2002; Franz Ackermann, Rivane Neuenschwander, Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, Simon Starling, and Yang Fudong in 2004; Allora & Calzadilla, John Bock, Damián Ortega, Aïda Ruilova, and Tino Sehgal in 2006; Christoph Büchel, Patty Chang, Sam Durant, Joachim Koester, and Roman Signer in 2008; Cao Fei, Roman Ondák, Walid Raad, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010; Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Qiu Zhijie, Monika Sosnowska, and Tris Vonna-Michell in 2012; Sheela Gowda, Camille Henrot, Hassan Khan, and Charline von Heyl in 2014; Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky in 2016; and Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang in 2018.

To see a timeline and a video on the history the Hugo Boss Prize, as well as an overview of past prize catalogues, visit guggenheim.org/hugobossprize.

About HUGO BOSS AG and its support of the Guggenheim

The HUGO BOSS Group is one of the leading companies in the upper premium segment of the apparel market that focuses on the development and marketing of premium fashion and accessories for men and women. Since 1995, the company has provided critical support to many Guggenheim programs. In addition to the Hugo Boss Prize, the company has helped make possible retrospectives of the work of Matthew Barney (2003), Georg Baselitz (1995), Ross Bleckner (1995), Francesco Clemente (1999–2000), Ellsworth Kelly (1996–97), Robert Rauschenberg (1997–98), and James Rosenquist (2003–04); the presentation Art in America: Now (2007) in Shanghai; the Felix Gonzalez-Torres (2007) and Ed Ruscha (2005) exhibitions in the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale; and the exhibition theanyspacewhatever (2008–09) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. At the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), the fashion and lifestyle group HUGO BOSS was the lead sponsor of the Allora & Calzadilla exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion. For more information about the HUGO BOSS arts program, visit https://group.hugoboss.com/en/sponsorship/arts-sponsorship.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums comprises the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.

Deana Lawson, Chief, 2019, Pigment print © Deana Lawson, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York; and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Leave a Reply