When the Nasher Sculpture Center set out to award an international sculpture
prize to the most groundbreaking artists advancing the medium today, they certainly meant business.
The selection of Pierre Huyghe as the second recipient of the Nasher Prize proposes the discussion
and celebration of an artist whose broad practice incorporates everything from film, musical opera, gardening,
animation, weather machines, holiday celebrations, arctic expeditions, puppet shows, fish tanks, and so much more.
A student of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 1982 to 1985, Huyghe became associated with a group of artists in the 1990s,
including Rirkrit Tiravanija, Philippe Parreno, and Carsten Höller, whose works involved participation, social interaction, and a surprising degree of chance.
It was then that notorious art critic and curator Nicolas Bourriaud first coined the term “relational aesthetics” to describe these unusual practices.
Much like his contemporaries, Pierre Huyghe isn’t interested in creating discrete objects fixed in stone, marble, or paint on canvas. Instead he often presents his audience with living systems of entities
(animal, mineral, and/or vegetable) that the viewer encounters in flux rather than passively observes.
This is why Director, Jeremy Strick, and his colleagues at the Nasher are presently concerned with how to grow moss on a cement sculpture of a reclining nude.
They’re also rehashing how to best maintain the lives of sea creatures that will once again occupy a large aquarium
by Pierre Huyghe when it is re-exhibited at the Nasher, potentially as soon as February 1st.
Pierre Huyghe was first named the winner of the Nasher Prize in September of last year, but the award will officially be conferred to the artist at a formal gala event on Saturday,
April 1st. Leading up to that presentation, the Nasher will be organizing a monthlong celebration of the prize that includes a graduate symposium led by keynote speaker and aforementioned critic,
Bourriaud, a conversation with select members of the Nasher Prize jury, and a public conversation with Huyghe himself.
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