Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2014 Shortlist Announced

10 June 2014 By

For Immediate Release

10 June 2014

Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2014 Shortlist Announced

The four shortlisted museums and their nominated artists for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2014 have been announced today. The nominees are:

 – Harris Museum & Art Gallery with Nathaniel Mellors

– Leeds Art Gallery with Becky Beasley

 – Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with Marvin Gaye Chetwynd

 – Whitworth Art Gallery with Martin Boyce

Now in its sixth year, the prestigious £40,000 prize is one of the country’s highest value contemporary art awards. This unique commissioning award is presented by the Contemporary Art Society to a regional museum or public gallery with a nominated artist. The prize offers the winning regional museum the opportunity to commission a major new artwork for their permanent collection by an artist who is not yet well represented in museum collections in this country.

The winner will be announced at a special ceremony in London on 24 November 2014.  The presenter and location of the 2014 award will be announced later in the year, with previous high-profiled presenters including Grayson Perry, Cornelia ParkerJeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger.

The members of the Annual Award 2014 jury are: Paul Bonaventura (Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art Studies, University of Oxford), Helen Legg (Director, Spike Island, Bristol), Tom Morton (Writer, Curator and contributing Editor, Frieze) and Eva Rothschild (Artist).

Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said:  In a very strong year we are proud to have such a distinguished shortlist for our sixth Annual Award. It creates a unique opportunity for an artist to create new work for a museum and the panel’s selection includes highly regarded artists who are under-represented in public collections, particularly outside London. All the proposals are consciously rooted in the cities the museums serve and engage with audiences at all levels.

Panellist Tom Morton said: The shortlisted museums and artists have all put forward ambitious commissions that would form a significant addition to any public collection. We were looking for work that people would travel to see and it is exciting to see museums proposing new works by artists whose practice includes less traditional disciplines such as performance and moving image.

For all press enquiries, including press tickets to the 24 November award ceremony, please contact: Marcus Crofton, Communications Manager
or +44 (0)20 7017 8412


Notes to Editors:


The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the


One of the highest value contemporary art prizes in the country, the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums supports a UK-based museum or public gallery to work with an artist of their choice to commission a new work that, once completed, will remain within the museum’s permanent collection.

The £40,000 prize has a major impact on both the winning museum and their chosen artist: for the winning museum, the award allows the acquisition of an ambitious work of contemporary art of national importance, and for the winning artist (who may be showing widely nationally and internationally but whose work is not represented in collections in this country), the award is a stepping stone to greater visibility and provides access to national and international audiences.

Applications are welcomed from museums that have not yet commissioned new work as well as from those with more experience. The award is open to all museums in the Contemporary Art Society’s Museums Membership network and artists anywhere in the world. £1000 is made available to all short-listed museums to work up the detailed proposal including the artist’s time and contribution.

Previous recipients of the award include: The Graves Art Gallery, Museums Sheffield (with artist Kateřina Šedá) in 2009; the Hepworth Wakefield and Wolverhampton Art Gallery (with Turner Prize nominated artist Luke Fowler) in 2010; Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery (with artist Christina Mackie) in 2011; The Collection & Usher Gallery, Lincoln (with artist Oliver Laric) 2012; and last year’s winners: Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art (with artist Elizabeth Price)


Harris Museum & Art Gallery with Nathaniel Mellors
British artist Nathaniel Mellors makes irreverent, absurd and hilarious videos, sculptures, performances and writings that challenge our notions of taste, morality, and intelligence.

Mellors has been invited by the gallery to make a new film using the fabric and social history of the city and he proposes to use the architecturally monumental, Brutalist Preston Bus Station as its focus. The Bus Station has recently been Grade II listed and the compact and architecturally diverse city centre makes for an ideal ‘film set’. Brutalism rapidly became antiquated and is now is now undergoing re-evaluation and receiving broader appreciation in unprecedented time. It is these contradictions that serve as the inspiration for the film as well as other aspects of Preston’s history, such as the unique story of the Dick Kerr Ladies Football Club.

Leeds Art Gallery with Becky Beasley
Becky Beasley explores relationships between photography and objects, the body and interiority in a way that is highly subjective and yet developed through deep immersion in the thoughts and methods of other artists and writers.

Beasley’s work has an archival impulse and rather than a recovering of a priori historical fact, her excursions ‘into the archive’ are about uncovering lost possibilities, a reason why the fictional mode assumes such dominance in her practice. Beasley will engage with curatorial, archive and learning-team staff to investigate the Leeds Art Gallery collections including the history of the Leeds Art Club (1893-1923), a force of unparalleled provincial avant-garde activity with origins in Guild Socialism and semi-occultist artistic affiliations.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with Marvin Gaye Chetwynd
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd is a Turner Prize nominated artist who is known primarily for her reworking’s of iconic moments from cultural history in spontaneous and improvised performances. Her elaborate constructions involve the participation of many collaborators, friends, and also the public.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art contains a significant collection of works by the Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi – in particular the recreation of his studio – of whom Chetwynd is an admirer. Chetwynd will create a response to Paolozzi’s practice through the production of a live piece which references the life of Paolozzi through movement, puppetry and sound.

Whitworth Art Gallery with Martin Boyce
Martin Boyce is a Scottish sculptor inspired by early 20th century modernism. In 2011 he won the Turner Prize for his installation Do Words Have Voices, which recalls a melancholy urban park in autumn.

As the first English gallery in a public park, the Whitworth has been associated with the notion of urban utopias since its conception. The gallery’s historic collection reflects this British fascination with the transformative potential of engaging with nature and contemporary commissions, exhibitions and acquisitions engage frequently with the theme of landscape. The Whitworth Art Gallery would engage Boyce to explore art, language, architecture and nature in the context of its art and design collection and its engagement with innovative contemporary practice.


Paul Bonaventura (Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art Studies, University of Oxford)
Paul Bonaventura is the Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art Studies, University of Oxford. After studying history of art at Reading University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, Paul went on to organise exhibitions of work by modern and contemporary artists, firstly at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford and subsequently at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. Since 1994 he has overseen research activities at the Ruskin School of Art where he has developed a particular interest in encouraging cross-disciplinary collaborations between artists and experts from other disciplines. Paul was an artistic advisor on the UK Pavilion at Aichi Expo in 2005 and guest-curator of the One Giant Leap season at BFI Southbank to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 in 2009. Paul devised a major commission for the London 2012 Festival and is at present working on large-scale projects to mark the centenary of the First World War and the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Paul is a trustee of Camden Arts Centre in London and Situations in Bristol and a special advisor to the Design and Artists Copyright Society.

Helen Legg (Director, Spike Island)    
Helen Legg has been the director of Spike Island, Bristol, since September 2010. Since joining, Helen has curated exhibitions with contemporary artists such as Haroon Mirza, Becky Beasley, Laure Prouvost, Dewar and Gicquel, Ciara Phillips and Corita Kent, Ivan Seal, Jessica Warboys and Cevdet Erek. Prior to this role, Helen was Curator at Ikon, Birmingham, working on exhibitions and offsite projects. Additionally, Helen worked on the development of Ikon Eastside, a second gallery based in a former factory building in Digbeth, an industrial area of Birmingham. Helen is chair of Visual Arts South West, on the advisory board of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and serves on the acquisition committee for Frac Midi-Pyrénées 2012-15. In 2013, Helen was chosen as a selector for the Paul Hamlyn Artist’s Awards and this year will act on the judging panel for the 2014 Turner Prize.

Tom Morton (Curator, Writer and Contributing Editor, Frieze)   
Tom Morton is a writer, independent curator, and contributing editor of Frieze Magazine. Tom has worked as a curator at Cubitt Gallery London, the Hayward Gallery London, and was co-curator with Lisa Le Feuvre on the major quinquennial travelling survey exhibition British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet (2010-11). Tom’s recent exhibitions include British British Polish Polish: Art from Europe’s Edges in the Long ‘90s, The CSW Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2013), Today, The CSW Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2013), It Means It Means! – A Drawn Exhibition by Charles Avery & Tom Morton, Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Pilar Corrias, London (2013). Tom has contributed critical writing to magazines including Frieze, Parkett, Metropolis M, and Bidoun, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues and edited volumes. Tom is currently working on his first novel.

Eva Rothschild (Artist)
Eva Rothschild is an Irish artist living and working in London. Eva creates sculpture working in a range of materials, which primarily consider the transformative power of looking. Eva’s recent solo exhibitions and public commissions have included the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, (2014), Why Don’t You?, The Nasher Sculpture Centre, Dallas, Texas (2012), Boys and Sculpture, The Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Commission (2012), Hot Touch,  The Hepworth Wakefield and Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany  (2011), Empire, Public Art Fund Commission sited in Central Park, New York (2011), Cold Corners, Tate Britain’s Duveen gallery commission (2009). Group exhibitions have included You Imagine What You Desire, Sydney Biennial, Sydney, Australia, (2014), We are living on a star, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway (2014), Changing States, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, (2013), Making is Thinking, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2011), The Dark Monarch, Tate St Ives, St. Ives (2009),  Un-monumental: Falling to Pieces in the 21st Century, the New Museum, New York (2007). Eva’s work is included in public and private collections including Tate Britain, MoMA, New York and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.