There were about 1,300 people crammed into the Guggenheim for the Hugo Boss Prize party last night, and virtually all of them were in black, as if by commandment. (The crowd, curling up the building’s ramp, looked like one enormous, dark martini-carrying centipede.) The $50,000 prize, funded by the German clothing company and administered by the Guggenheim Foundation, is presented every other year and, since its founding in 1996, has become the U.S. equivalent of Britain’s very big-deal Turner Prize.
Real stars joined art stars at the event, including Dustin Hoffman — “we wardrobed him,” bragged Hugo Boss sponsorship head Hjördis Kettenbach, of the nattily dressed actor — and, well, the guy who won the first Project Runway. The nominated artists were there, too, including Aida Ruilova, whose films will be shown on the beach at next month’s Art Basel Miami fair, and Damien Ortega, whose most famous piece disassembled a Volkswagen Beetle into a giant abstract-art sculpture. The highlight of the proceedings was the announcement of the prizewinner, British artist and filmmaker Tacita Dean. This news did not surprise anyone who’d been at a dinner Boss threw Monday night, at which — dead giveaway — Dean was seated next to the Goog’s Hollywood star-in-residence Dennis Hopper, who’s a member of the “Guggenheim Motorcycle Gang,” which also includes Guggenheim chief Thomas Krens, architect Frank Gehry, and occasionally Lauren Bacall.
When she won, Dean quickly thanked her dealer and others then quickly got off stage. In addition to the cash, she’ll win a show at the museum and a big boost in global recognition. The runners-up, meantime, don’t get any of that, but also don’t do so badly. “They give us clothes,” said Aida Ruilova.
— Alexandra Peers
Hugo Boss Prize [Official site]