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Pierre Huyghe wins the 2010 American Art Award
December 16, 2010

Pierre Huyghe, The Host and the Cloud, 2009-2010, live experiment. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Pierre Huyghe is the 2010 winner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Contemporary Artist Award. He is the ninth recipient of the award given to an artist under the age of fifty (he’s forty-eight, so just in time) that is meant to encourage the artist’s future development and experimentation. Previous winners include Mark Dion (2008), Jessica Stockholder (2007), and Kara Walker (2004).

The jurors wrote in their decision, “Huyghe looks beyond national boundaries to create an art that speaks to universal themes and experiences. His impressive body of work includes landmark video installations that have changed the course of contemporary film and video. He has continued to build upon this foundation, devising inventive projects that range from incisive social commentary to poetic moments of pure beauty. Simply put, Huyghe is one the most influential artists of his generation. We are as excited about what he will create next as with what he has already accomplished.”

Pierre Huyghe often gives his videos enigmatic titles, such as A Journey That Wasn't. In This is Not a Time for Dreaming, a commission from the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University, the only building in North America to be designed by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier, and completed in 1963. While working out the piece, and having difficulties with the commission, Huyghe learned that Corbusier also had some problems with his own commission. Huyghe decided to tell their shared stories in a kind of puppet kabuki—a play without words. In another piece Celebration Park, an installation at the Tate Modern, U.K., Huyghe commented, "As I start a project I always need to create a world, and then I need to enter this world....What takes me a long time is to create a world." Huyghe's worlds are vast and interesting, often playful, as he interprets the world around him through film, puppetry, and other media. For Streamside Day he even created a parade in the small New York town of Streamside. "I was interested in creating a ritual that the people in the town would actually celebrate because it's based on what they share," said Huyghe.

Huyghe, who was born in Paris, divides his time between that city and New York. A solo exhibition of his work opens January 28, 2011 at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York.

Posted by Howard on December 16, 2010 in American Art Elsewhere, American Art Here


An extremely influential man. I can't wait to see what his next piece will be. I look forward to the opening of his exhibition in January.

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