The Brooklyn-based British painter Oscar Yi Hou is the third recipient of the annual UOVO prize, granting him an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000 and a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum that is slated to open later this year. The show will be curated by Eugenie Tsai, the museum’s senior curator of contemporary art, and marks the artist’s first solo museum exhibition.
Yi Hou, who was born in Liverpool in 1998 to Cantonese immigrants, received his BA in visual arts from Columbia University. He most recently had a solo exhibition at James Fuentes Gallery in New York in 2021, showing a series of vibrant portraits and self-portraits made primarily during the pandemic lockdown, which combined elements of calligraphy, painting and poetry. His work has also been included in exhibitions organised by Sprüth Magers, Kohn Gallery and the Royal Academy in London, among others.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition will “introduce the breadth of his artistic practice [and] put his work in conversation with examples drawn from our newly installed collection of Asian art, a strategy utilised by past prize winners including Baseera Khan”, Tsai says in a statement.
Yi Hou adds that “excitement lies in the fact that I’ll be working in dialogue with one of America’s foremost collections of Asian art, fueling my preoccupation with Western-owned East Asian archival materials”. He hopes visitors will “trace relations between the past and the present, kindling new meanings and connections” through the symbolism that populates his work, in dialogue with the museum’s collection.
The prize also includes a commission for a large-scale public art installation on the façade of the UOVO building in Bushwick, the fine art storage and logistics firm’s fourth location in New York. UOVO has seen significant growth since it was established in 2013—with locations in Florida, California, Delaware and Colorado—and has made various philanthropic contributions. Last month, the company announced the appointment of John Auerbach, previously an e-commerce executive at Sotheby’s auction house, as its chief executive.