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M+ Museum to Launch $63,900 Sigg Prize in 2019


The M+ museum in Hong Kong has established the Sigg Prize, an award that will be given to an artist working in the greater China region, which includes mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, among other countries, starting next year. The shortlist for the inaugural Sigg Prize will be revealed in March, with the winner to be named during the run of an exhibition featuring works by the nominated artists at the museum that opens in December 2019. Alongside news for the artists’ prize came the announcement that the museum will also launch the Sigg Critic Prize; its first winner will be named in 2020.

The winner of the Sigg Prize, which will be given out biennially, will receive HKD 500,000, or about $63,900. Finalists for the award will receive HKD 100,000, or about $12,800. The nominating committee for the prize will look at each artist’s practice over the preceding two years, and there will be no age restrictions for nominees.

According to M+, the Sigg Prize will take the place of the Chinese Contemporary Art Award, a prize that has been given biennially to Chinese artists since it was initiated by Uli Sigg in 1997. Sigg, who appeared on the ARTnews “Top 200 Collectors” list each year between 2009 and 2017, is currently a member of M+’s board and acquisitions committee, and sits on the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the International Advisory Council of Tate in London.

In a statement, Sigg said, “My primary purposes in establishing the award were to give encouragement to artists with talent, to enhance awareness on the part of a largely uninterested Chinese public, and to bring prominent international professionals to the Chinese art scene. After 20 years, Anna Liu and I think it is time to move forward, to make the award accessible to more audiences and artists. I am looking forward to seeing the prize mature into being a global influencer.”

The prize’s first jury will include Maria Balshaw, director of Tate; Bernard Blistène, director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Gong Yan, director of the Power Station of Art in Shanghai; curator Lai Hsiangling; Suhanya Raffel, executive director of M+; Sigg; and artist Xu Bing.

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