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Simone Leigh Wins Hugo Boss Prize 2018

NEW YORK, NY—October 18, 2018)— – WEBWIRE

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Mark Langer, Chairman and CEO, HUGO BOSS AG, announced tonight that artist Simone Leigh has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize 2018. Leigh is the 12th 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, Leigh receives an award of $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, opening in April 2019. Administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Hugo Boss Prize is made possible by HUGO BOSS.

“For more than twenty years, the Hugo Boss Prize has been at the center of the Guggenheim’s commitment to contemporary art. We gratefully acknowledge our friends at HUGO BOSS for their visionary partnership in this endeavor, which has made signficant contributions to the field of contemporary art and introduced emerging artists to a global audience,” said Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “This year, we are pleased to present the award to Simone Leigh who was unanimously recognized by an esteemed panel of jurors for her groundbreaking work as an artist and educator. We join them in congratulating her for this well-deserved honor.”

A jury selected 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 Hernández, Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Dan Fox, Editor-at-Large, 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 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 more than 20 years,” noted Mark Langer, Chairman and CEO, HUGO BOSS AG. “We extend our sincerest congratulations to Simone Leigh and express our gratitude to the jury and the Guggenheim Museum for their dedication and support.”


“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.

“We also applaud Leigh’s sustained mentorship of young female artists; her impact on a next generation of practitioners is already apparent. We are thrilled to award this prize to such an important and influential voice and await her exhibition at the museum next year with great anticipation.”


(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).


Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to 11 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), and Anicka Yi (2016). The related exhibitions have constituted some of the most compelling presentations in the museum’s history.

Previous finalists include 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; and Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky in 2016.

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


The Hugo Boss Prize 2018 catalogue, published by the Guggenheim, diverges from the format of a traditional catalogue as a compilation of six foldout posters, one for each nominated artist. Each poster features an artwork by a nominated artist on one side, with an essay by an acclaimed writer or thinker about the artist’s practice on the reverse. Including texts by Diana Nawi, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Taiyana Pimentel, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Frances Stark and an anonymous associate, and Fred Moten, boychild, and Wu Tsang, the posters are presented within a slipcase along with an introduction by Susan Thompson, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and a foreword by Dr. Hjördis Kettenbach, Head of Cultural Affairs, HUGO BOSS, AG. Designed by Alex Lin of Studio Lin, New York, it is printed in the United States and available for $40 from the Guggenheim Store or online at


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. At the 54th Venice Biennale in 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


Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997) and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). The Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that celebrate contemporary art, architecture, and design within and beyond the walls of the museum, including the Guggenheim Social Practice Initiative, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. More information about the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation can be found at

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