Turner Prize exhibition cancelled due to pandemic

The 2020 Turner Prize exhibition has Been Called Off, and UK’s Top Art Award will be split between several Artists.
Tate Britain citing global disruption, the 2020 exhibition has been canceled and replaced by individual bursaries.

Tate Britain
photo: Rikard Österlund

The Turner Prize jury will choose 10 artists to receive one-off bursaries of £10,000 ($12,300), this is a major improvement from the £45,000 ($55,413) pot that has historically is divided between the winner, who receives £25,000 ($30,777), while the three short-listed artists are handed £5,000 ($6,160) each. 

Tate Britain explains in a statement that the timeline for preparing the annual show was too tight due to the disruptions caused by the public health situation, so it decided to support a larger number of artists through the “period of profound disruption and uncertainty.” The selected artists will be announced at the end of June. 

According to Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury, “Gallery closures and social distancing measures are vitally important, but they are also causing huge disruption to the lives and livelihoods of artists,” .

Farquharson draws a parallel with the prize’s namesake artist JMW Turner who “once planned to leave his fortune to support artists in their hour of need.” In his will, Turner tried to leave most of his extensive fortune to a charity for “decayed artists,” although for legal reasons, this plan never materialized.

The jury for this year’s Turner Prize includes Richard Birkett, curator at large at the Institute of Contemporary Arts; Sarah Munro, director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Fatoş Üstek, director of Liverpool Biennial; and designer and curator Duro Olowu.

One of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize was established in 1984 and named after the artist JMW Turner (1775-1851). It is eligible to artists born or based in the UK for outstanding exhibitions or other presentations of their work in the previous 12 months. 


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