There are honors, acknowledgements, laurels, kudos—and then there are awards. Every two years, the Hugo Boss Prize provides very much the latter to a lucky contemporary artist, this year's jackpot being $100,000 and a summer 2011 show at the Guggenheim.
"It's the CFDAs of art," offered designer Michelle Ochs, one of many revelers packed into the museum's flower-bedecked rotunda last night. "We're not familiar with any of these artists," added her partner, Carly Cushnie. "But speaking as a young designer, all the help you can get is amazing." The party paused only briefly for the announcement of this year's winner, the German found-photo and installation artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. (The other nominees were Cao Fei, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Roman Ondák, Walid Raad, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.)
The four-hour festivities drew a youthful crowd that doesn't necessarily make a habit of coming up to 89th Street—Cushnie and Ochs, for one, reckoned they hadn't been to the Guggenheim since the museum's Zaha Hadid show in 2006, and circulating amid the crush were the likes of Olympia Scarry, Trish Goff, and Anouck Lepère. In a cushioned lounge in the back, Adrien Brody lingered with Dylan McDermott and Alan Cumming, who said he'd been rooting for Cao Fei. "Her work is so colorful, and I love it when people take pictures of real people in poor situations and make them magical," he said. Cumming had paired a Hugo Boss jacket with some major-statement leather pants by Kenneth Cole, but mentioned he wouldn't be riding home on a Harley in the foreseeable future. "Only in my fantasies," he said.