Artist Award Roundup: Oscar yi Hou Wins Uovo Prize, Isaac Julien Recognized by German City, and More

The Brooklyn Museum has selected Oscar yi Hou as the recipient of its third annual UOVO Prize, which comes with a $25,000 cash award, a solo exhibition at the museum, and 50-foot public installation on the façade of the Brooklyn facility of UOVO, the art storage company which funds the prize.

yi Hou, who was born in Liverpool and is now based in Brooklyn, creates figurative paintings that often depict queer people from the Asian diaspora as a way to explore the complexity of both identities. Set against layered backgrounds that feel compressed, his paintings also include references to Chinese calligraphy and American graffiti. He has exhibited with James Fuentes in New York and T293 Gallery in Rome, and is currently an artist in residence at Silver Arts Project in 4 World Trade Center.

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In a statement, Brooklyn Museum senior curator Eugenie Tsai, who will organize yi Hou’s exhibition, said, “We’re thrilled to select yi Hou as our next UOVO Prize recipient and welcome this opportunity to introduce the breadth of his artistic practice to our visitors. In addition, we’re excited to see how he’ll put his work in conversation with examples drawn from our newly reinstalled collection of Asian art.”

Artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien received this year’s Goslarer Kaiserring award, which has been awarded to international contemporary artists annually since 1975 by the German city of Goslar. In a statement, the prize’s jury said Julien “breaks down barriers between different artistic disciplines by drawing from film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture and uniting them in a highly sensual visual narrative. Julien’s work deals with important social and human issues of our time—racism, migration, diversity, queerness, homophobia and chauvinism—and encourages us to rethink and explore social responsibility.”

New York–based artist Daniel Turner won the newly created Borlem Prize, which will each year go to an artist “whose work brings awareness to mental health issues and struggles,” according to a press release. Created by Roberto Toscano in the memory of brother Fernando, who passed away in 2018, the prize comes with $20,000 in direct artist support; an additional $20,000 will be donated to a suicide prevention and mental health advocacy charity of the artist’s choosing. Turner has selected the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Borlem Prize will also produce a monograph on Turner, with an essay by curator Elena Filipovic.

Savvy Contemporary in Berlin recently created the Wi Di Mimba Wi Prize with the support of the German foundation AKB Stiftung. Founded with the intention “to build a strong relationship and support for artists of colour towards a richer and more diverse cultural landscape,” according to a press release, the prize comes with a one-year working grant of €30,000 ($34,000), with additional funds to create a new work and related curatorial support. The inaugural winner is Jean-Ulrick Désert, who this year’s jury described as “impressive in its breadth and ingenuity. His decades-long work in Germany has made and shaped spaces for crucial questions and practices. Before most of us have begun working in the city of Berlin, Jean-Ulrick was already here and doing the work without which most of us would not be able to do our own work.”

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s annual Pollock Prize for Creativity went to Austin-based artist Beili Liu. The prize’s $50,000 purse will be used toward supporting  the artist’s solo exhibition and performance series “Dreams of the High North: Between Survival and Belonging,” which will go view at Hå Gamle Prestegard in 2023. In a statement, Liu said, “The prize will provide essential support for my Arctic research and the development of a pivotal new body of work, Dreams of the High North: Between Survival and Belonging. I hold immense gratitude for this recognition at a significant juncture of my career. I know for certain that my experience and research in the High North will be life-changing and profoundly impact all my future work.”


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