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Turner Prize

The Turner Prize is an annual prize given to a British visual artist under 50, named after the painter J.M.W. Turner. It is organized by the Tate art gallery, and since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised art award. The prize money is £20,000.

Table of contents
1 Introduction
2 Criticism of the Turner Prize
3 List of winners and short-listed artists
4 External link
5 See also


The build- up to the announcement of the winner, each year, receives intense attention from many branches of the media, much of it critical, addressing the question "what is art". The artists themselves usually work in modern forms, including installation art and unconventional sculpture, though painters have also won.

Nominations for the prize are invited from the public, and the short-list (which since 1991 has been of four artists) is announced several months before the prize-giving. An exhibition accompanies the prize with works by each of the artists being shown at Tate Britain. The prize is not judged on these works alone, however, but on the artists' work as a whole over the previous year.

The exhibition and prize rely on commercial sponsorship. From 1987 this was provided by the company Drexel Burnham Lambert; their withdrawal led to the 1990 prize being cancelled. Channel 4, an independent television channel, stepped in for 1991, doubled the prize money to the current level, and supported the event with documentaries and live broadcasts of the prize-giving.

The media success of the Turner Prize arguably contributed to the success of the late 1990s phenomena of Young British Artists and Cool Britannia, and exhibitions such as the Charles Saatchi-sponsored Sensation.

Criticism of the Turner Prize

As well as typical essay-based criticism, there have been the following less formal attacks on the prize.

List of winners and short-listed artists

It should be noted that the 1988 short-list was not published at the time of the prize, and that there was no short-list as such in 1989, although a number of artists other than the winner were "commended".

External link

See also