Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times that Emily Jacir has won the Hugo Boss Prize. Jacir, a thirty-seven-year-old artist of Palestinian descent who produces photographs, videos, sculptures, and drawings that address themes of belonging and displacement as they relate to Palestinian identity, will be awarded one hundred thousand dollars. The Hugo Boss Prize was established in 1996 by the Guggenheim Museum and is given every two years for significant achievement in contemporary art. In addition to the monetary award, the prize includes an exhibition of the winner’s work, which will be shown at the Guggenheim from February 6 to April 15.
The other finalists this year included two Swiss artists: Christoph Büchel and Roman Signer; two Americans: Patty Chang and Sam Durant; and the Danish artist Joachim Koester. Jacir, who divides her time between Ramallah and New York, won the Golden Lion Award for an artist under forty at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Her work there, a room-size installation in the Italian Pavilion, documented the assassination of the Palestinian intellectual Wael Zwaiter by Israeli agents in Rome for what they believed was his role in the massacre of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Using photographs, objects, texts, and interviews, Jacir created a narrative that reflects on her own anguish over the Middle East. Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s chief curator and a member of the Boss Prize jury, said, “Although her work is clearly very political, she deals with her topic in a sophisticated, unique fashion that transcends politicized art. It’s complex, poetic, and open-ended. And the fact that she can operate from both Palestine and the United States allows her to have a broader overview, which I think is really important.”