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Contemporary Artist Award

2010—Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe is the ninth annual winner of the museum’s contemporary artist award.

Huyghe was recognized by an independent panel of jurors for his pioneering vision and tireless ambition to make art that defies expectations and extends conventional practices into new territory.

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."

Huyghe employs diverse media to explore the boundary between fiction and reality in contemporary society. As an early innovator in multichannel video installation, Huyghe has had a profound impact on the production and presentation of film and video in contemporary art. During the last decade, his projects often have involved elaborately staged public performances that encourage direct audience participation. In each of these projects Huyghe weaves a vast array of cultural practices—architecture, film, theater, puppetry, music and literature—to create a multilayered experience.

Huyghe work has been shown broadly in the United States and Europe, with solo exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London (2006), the Carpenter Center at Harvard University (2004), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City (2003), the Dia Center for the Arts in New York City (2003), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000) and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2000). He also has participated in a number of international art shows, including Documenta 11 (2002), the International Istanbul Biennial (2001) and the Carnegie International (1999) at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. In 2005, the Public Art Fund commissioned Huyghe to create a live event and film shoot at the Wollman Ice Rink in New York City’s Central Park, which followed a trip to Antarctica that Huyghe made with a group of like-minded artists. The journey and event culminated in “A Journey That Wasn’t” (2006), a video installation first shown in the 2006 biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Huyghe is represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York City and Paris.

Huyghe was born in 1962 in Paris. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in 1985. He lives and works in New York City and Paris.


Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator, Public Art Fund

Margo Crutchfield, senior curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

Anne Ellegood, senior curator, UCLA Hammer Museum

Tim Rollins, artist

Howard Singerman, associate professor of contemporary art and theory, University of Virginia

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