The Nasher Sculpture Center is proud to announce French artist Pierre Huyghe as the recipient of the 2017 Nasher Prize. In its second year, the Nasher Prize is the most ambitious international award in sculpture, established to honor a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities. Pierre Huyghe has profoundly expanded the parameters of sculpture through artworks encompassing a variety of materials and disciplines, bringing music, cinema, dance, and theater into contact with biology and philosophy, incorporating time based elements that vary in intensity, as diverse as fog, ice, parades, rituals, automata, computer programs, video games, dogs, bees, and microorganisms. Huyghe has consistently sought new ways to bring together unconventional and heterogeneous materials into a practice exceeding the sum of its multifarious parts. Says Huyghe, “To start [a work], I always need to create a world. Then [I] enter this world, and that walk through this world is the work.” The works Huyghe creates become in turn evolving worlds that others can walk through, encountering living entities and environments that can range from intellectually provocative to hauntingly beautiful.
If a traditional definition of sculpture is an object experienced in space over time, Huyghe’s practice expands the possibility of the three central precepts of this definition—object, space, and time. Huyghe’s achievements have deeply affected our understanding of sculpture’s possibilities even as he explores new avenues for his own work, delving into urgent issues raised by technology and media—identity, representation, community, knowledge—as well as enduring questions regarding time, exhibition ritual, and the role of the artist and our shared connections to each other.
“We are so delighted by the choice of Pierre Huyghe as our 2017 Nasher Prize laureate,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “His expansive view of sculpture so wonderfully embodies the goal of the Nasher Prize, which is to champion the greatest artistic minds of our time. His incorporation of living systems, situations, films and objects into his sculpture highlight the complexities between art and life and challenge the very limits of art-making. And at this moment, when the environment and culture are so under threat, Huyghe’s imaginative, uncanny approach to the serious ecological and social issues facing our planet tie his oeuvre to the ancient purposes of sculpture: they possess a shamanistic quality which tips the mimetic into life.”
About Nasher Prize
In April 2015, the Nasher Sculpture Center announced the creation of the Nasher Prize, the most significant award in the world dedicated exclusively to contemporary sculpture. It is presented annually to a living artist that has had an extraordinary impact on the understanding of the art form. Each winner is chosen by a jury of renowned museum directors, curators, artists, and art historians who have an expertise in the field, and varying perspectives on the subject, and receives a $100,000 prize, conferred in April of each year. In addition, each winner receives an award object designed by the architect of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Renzo Piano.
The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of a few institutions worldwide dedicated exclusively to the exhibition and study of modern and contemporary sculpture. As such, the prize is an apt extension of the museum’s mission and its commitment to advancing developments in the field. By recognizing those artists who have had a significant impact on the understanding and development of sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center will further its role as a leading institution in enhancing and promoting this vital art form.
Attendant with the award aspect of the Nasher Prize is a series of public programs called Nasher Prize Dialogues. These panel discussions, lectures, and symposia are intended to foster international awareness of sculpture and of the Nasher Prize, and to stimulate discussion and debate. Nasher Prize Dialogues are held in cities around the world on a yearly basis, offering engagement with various audiences, and providing myriad perspectives and insight into the ever-expanding field of sculpture.
The inaugural winner of the Nasher Prize was Colombian artist, Doris Salcedo.