Winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2012. Emerging from a process of research, chance encounters, and delicate personal negotiations, Vo's installations unearth the latent connotations and memories embedded in familiar forms. The title of his exhibition is I M U U R 2 derived from the life and work of visionary painter Martin Wong.
An exhibition of the work of artist Danh Vo (b. 1975, Bà Rịa, Vietnam), winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2012, will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, March 15–May 27, 2013. Vo, whose work illuminates the entwined strands of private experience and collective history that shape our sense of self, is the ninth artist to win the prestigious biennial award, established in 1996 by HUGO BOSS and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The Hugo Boss Prize 2012: Danh Vo is organized by Katherine Brinson, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Emerging from a process of research, chance encounters, and delicate personal negotiations, Vo’s installations unearth the latent connotations and memories embedded in familiar forms. The title of his Guggenheim exhibition, I M U U R 2, is derived from a formulation used by the artist Martin Wong (1946–1999) on his business cards and stamps. Vo has long been fascinated by the life and work of Wong, a visionary painter and beloved figure of New York’s downtown art scene of the 1980s and ’90s. After acquiring one of Wong’s works, he struck up a correspondence with the artist’s mother, Florence Wong Fie, and eventually visited her home in San Francisco. There, he discovered a remarkable collection of objects ranging from curios and tourist souvenirs to rare antique ceramics and scrolls of calligraphy, interspersed with numerous examples of Wong’s paintings and works on paper.
An obsessive collector with an astute eye for overlooked finds, Wong had collaborated with his mother since childhood to assemble an evolving constellation of artifacts—a project that culminated during the last five years of his life, when he returned to his family home to undergo treatment for an AIDS-related illness. Giving equal weight to the rarified and the disposable, the collection expresses Wong’s omnivorous desire to absorb and understand his cultural environment. Much of the collection focuses on exuberant Americana and sentimental keepsakes, but Wong also examined the problematic aspects of American popular history, creating clusters of objects that depict racist caricatures. At the time of his death in 1999, the collection had grown to cover almost every surface in the house, where it has been carefully preserved by Florence Wong Fie ever since. In this installation, Vo has configured a selection of objects drawn from the Wong collection. Elucidating the affinities between the two artists, the gesture merges their individual processes through a creative exchange that transcends historical circumstances and challenges the traditional notion of the stable, authored artwork.
In November 2012, a jury selected Vo from a group of six short-listed artists, including Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Qiu Zhijie, Monika Sosnowska, and Tris Vonna-Michell. The award is given to an artist whose work represents a significant development in contemporary art and sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, race, nationality, or medium. The 2012 jury was chaired by Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and included Magali Arriola, Curator, Colección Jumex, Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico; Suzanne Cotter, Director, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal, and former Curator, Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Kate Fowle, Executive Director, Independent Curators International, New York; Nat Trotman, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Theodora Vischer, Senior Curator at Large, Fondation Beyeler, Basel. In the official award statement, the jury remarked: “We have chosen to award the Hugo Boss Prize 2012 to Danh Vo in recognition of the vivid and influential impact he has made on the currents of contemporary art making. Vo's assured and subtle work expresses a number of urgent concerns related to cultural identity, politics, and history, evoking these themes through shifting, poetic forms that traverse time and geography.”
In conjunction with the Hugo Boss Prize 2012, the Guggenheim has published a catalogue that features projects by each of the finalists, as well as specially commissioned essays offering critical overviews of their practices. The catalogue, designed by London-based designer Sara De Bondt, includes texts by Suzanne Cotter, Dominic Eichler, Kate Fowle, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Beatrix Ruf, and Adam Szymczyk, with an introduction by Katherine Brinson, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It is available for $19.95 at the Guggenheim Store, or online at guggenheimstore.org.
Education and Public Programs
Details on the public programs presented in conjunction with The Hugo Boss Prize 2012: Danh Vo are available at guggenheim.org/publicprograms. Highlights include:
Curator’s Eye Tour
Apr 26, 2 pm: Led by Katherine Brinson, Associate Curator
The Elaine Terner Cooper Education Fund: Conversations with Contemporary Artists
Danh Vo in conversation with Julie Ault and Peter Broda
Tues, Mar 19, 6:30 pm
Danh Vo discusses his artistic practice and exhibition at the Guggenheim with Julie Ault, an artist, writer, and curator, and Peter Broda, who co-founded the Museum of American Graffiti, now part of the Museum of the City of New York, with Martin Wong.
$12, $8 members, free for students with a valid ID and RSVP at guggenheim.org/cca.
Hugo Boss Prize History
This year marks the ninth presentation of the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum. Since its inception in 1996, it has been awarded to American artist Matthew Barney (1996), Scottish artist Douglas Gordon (1998), Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč (2000), French artist Pierre Huyghe (2002), Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004), British artist Tacita Dean (2006), Palestinian artist Emily Jacir (2008), and German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010). Previous finalists have included 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; Jennifer Allora and Guillermo 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; and Cao Fei, Roman Ondák, Walid Raad, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010.
Image: Objects from the collection of Martin Wong. Photo Heinz Peter Knes
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