THE TURNER PRIZE 2016: what is it?

Kitty Marie gives us the low down of the Turner Prize and why you should be excited...

24th October 2016

Formed in 1984 by Patrons of New Art, the Turner Prize was established to influence greater interest in contemporary art. The prize (named after the nineteenth century British artist, J.M.W. Turner, who was controversial, innovative and wanted to establish an award for young artists) is awarded to artists under the age of 50.

Firstly, four nominees are shortlisted, and their art is exhibited at Tate Britain. The artists are chosen based on the exhibitions they presented over the previous year. This year, we are presented with another four nominees for this coveted award: Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten, and Josephine Pryde.

Since the prize is awarded to those under the age of 50, it is not an award for ‘lifetime achievement’. Instead, it is awarded for the quality of the artist’s work, and not just based on their popularity of the artist themselves.

“The Turner Prize is effectively a pool of diversity”

Furthermore, the prize doesn’t just showcase great art: it showcases, and stands for, the great cities that are exhibiting the artist’s installation, all in the UK.

Over the years, the Turner Prize has been hosted at Tate Liverpool in 2007, and even at our very own Baltic at Gateshead in 2011.

Newcastle has always been well known by our locals for its diverse, independent, artistic, culture.

As well as receiving nationwide and international acclaim. The Turner Prize staples the North-East on the map, not only because of the prize’s previous position in the UK, but because of Newcastle born artists, Michael Dean, has even been shortlisted to feature at the Tate.

The public are open to few these exhibitions for three weeks in May, to view the art and nominate their favourite artist to be awarded the Turner Prize. The results are then counted and the nominations are then announced in July.

The prize (at present, the prize sum is £40,000: £25,000 of this goes to the overall winner, and £5,000 goes to each of the three runners-up), has been presented by fellow artists and celebrities over previous years, including Damien Hirst (in 1995), Yoko Ono (in 2006), and Jude Law (in 2012).

The continuation of the prize relies heavily upon sponsorship from galleries, commissioners, as well as, in part, from the medias’ involvement; previous sponsors have included Drexel Burnharm Lambert, Channel 4, and Gordon’s Gin.

Not only does the Tuner Prize exhibit young, relatively unknown artists’ works, but it also provokes debate about art. Many would argue this is essential within our culture as it demonstrates the different ideologies and progressive nature of our artists’, and the lifestyles that surround them – the Turner Prize, regardless of your opinion on modern art, is effectively a pool of diversity, representing Britain and its political savvy youth.

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