Anicka Yi Wins 2016 Hugo Boss Prize

Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Mark Langer, chairman and CEO of Hugo Boss AG, announced today that artist Anicka Yi has been awarded the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize. She is the eleventh artist to receive the honor and the $100,000 prize.

Born in Seoul in 1971 and based in New York since 1995, Yi first started showing works in 2008. For “You Can Call Me F” at The Kitchen, Yi gathered biological information from one hundred women to cultivate the idea of the female figure as a viral pathogen. In an introduction to a March 2015 cover story on and portfolio by the artist, Artforum editor Michelle Kuo wrote: “Teeming and communing, the bacteria conjure a microcosm of the larger social structures from which they are culled.”

Yi was selected from a short list of six finalists, which also included Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky. The jury was made up of Katherine Brinson, curator of contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum; Dan Byers, senior curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; Elena Filipovic, director and chief curator at Kunsthalle Basel; Michelle Kuo, editor of Artforum; and Pablo León de la Barra, curator of the Guggenheim’s UBS Map project.

“We are particularly compelled by the way Yi’s sculptures and installations make public and strange, and thus newly addressable, our deeply subjective corporeal realities,” the jury said in a statement. “We also admire the unique embrace of discomfort in her experiments with technology, science, and the plant and animal worlds, all of which push at the limits of perceptual experience in the ‘visual’ arts. The artist gives material and olfactory form to complex networks of ideas, imbuing her unusual materials with both political and psychological urgency.”

The Guggenheim Museum has published a catalogue featuring artist projects by each of the finalists. An exhibition of Yi’s work will open at the institution in April 2017.

Established in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize recognizes artists for their contributions to contemporary art. Previous winners include Matthew Barney, Douglas Gordon, and Marjetica Potrč.