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2013

High-profile panel shortlists museums and artists in running for £60,000 award

2013 judges Kirsty Ogg (Curator, Whitechapel Gallery), Elizabeth Neilson (Director, Zabludowicz Collection) and Charlotte Higgins (Chief Arts Writer, The Guardian) discuss applications at the Contemporary Art Society, July 2013. Photo: Joe Plommer
2013 judges Kirsty Ogg (Curator, Whitechapel Gallery), Elizabeth Neilson (Director, Zabludowicz Collection) and Charlotte Higgins (Chief Arts Writer, The Guardian) discuss applications at the Contemporary Art Society, July 2013. Photo: Joe Plommer, photo by:Joe Plommer

The shortlist for this year’s Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums is:
– 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
– Birmingham Museums with artist Jess Flood-Paddock
– The Hepworth Wakefield with artist Des Hughes
– Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with artist Lucy McKenzie

Now in its fifth year, the prestigious £60,000 prize is one of the highest value contemporary art awards in the country, and is awarded to a UK museum to commission an artist of their choice to create a new work that will enrich their permanent collection. The award also provides support and exposure for the winning artist at a critical point in their career.

The shortlisted museums with their nominated artists are working on creating a full proposal for their new commissions, to be considered by the 2013 judging panel. The judging panel for the 2013 award includes a mix of leading names in the field of contemporary art and comprises: Brian Griffiths (artist), Charlotte Higgins(Chief Arts Writer, The Guardian), Elizabeth Neilson(Director, Zabludowicz Collection), and Kirsty Ogg(Curator, Whitechapel Gallery).

The winners of the £60,000 prize will be announced in an award ceremony on 18 November 2013 at the Dairy Art Centre in London, in the presence of artists, curators, collectors and art world VIPs. The presenter of the award will be announced shortly; previous presenters have included Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker and Jeremy Deller.

Sophia Bardsley, Deputy Director, Contemporary Art Society, said:
“We are delighted to have received such a large volume of applications this year, and the quality of proposals has been exceptionally high. After some debate, the 2013 panel was eventually unanimous in their selection of this year’s stand-out shortlist. The museums will now begin to work with their nominated artists to better visualise their proposed commissions and the ways in which these commissions will enrich and enliven their collections, for the benefit of public audiences now and in the future. The Contemporary Art Society Annual Award is a lifeline to the winning museum to acquire an important new work that will put their contemporary collection more firmly on the contemporary art map – both regionally and across the UK – whilst the winning artist gains the opportunity to develop their work and ideas alongside a team of curators and museum professionals, which is often a new experience for them. The award offers the artist the chance to expand their practice to potentially take their work in a new direction.”

Elizabeth Neilson, Director, Zabludowicz Collection, said:
“It was a challenge to select four proposals when every one of the applications should be seen through to completion. This cannot be understood in terms of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ but rather a process to select the right proposal for this award. I expect the next stage of selection to be even harder.” 

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
Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price is an artist who uses images, text and music to explore archives and collections. While her work is informed by mainstream cinema and experimental film, it is mostly concerned with the medium of digital video and its comparative ubiquity in today’s culture. Through judicious editing the artist composes the material into narratives, which often start out by revealing the ideological identities of her sources. However, in the course of a single piece these narratives will shift between different archives and collections for what the artist is seeking are the contingent links between materials that have very different histories. This commission would enable the artist to explore the archives and collections of the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museums (which cares for Oxford’s holdings of anthropology and world archaeology), in particular the photographs of artefacts and documents created by curators and by anthropologists and archaeologists working in the field. The new film work will disclose the differing taxonomic systems that have been employed by and shaped the two institutions while simultaneously engaging with the social and psychological implications of digital technologies. The Ashmolean Museum is eager to expand on its current commitment to contemporary art, from October 2013 the museum will begin a series of exhibitions of contemporary art in a refurbished gallery on the upper floor and a permanent gallery for contemporary art is included in plans for the next phase of the building programme. The commission would enable the museum to add a significant moving image work to its existing holdings of contemporary art which will be premiered in Oxford on completion and will comprise a timely addition to the museum’s forward-looking 330th anniversary celebrations.

Birmingham Museums with artist Jess Flood-Paddock
Rooted in sculpture, Jess Flood-Paddock’s work focuses on the emotional dimension of objects and what that can tell us about human interaction. Also employing photography, video and scenic painting, her work is often realised on a large-scale in ‘un-monumental’ materials (e.g. plywood, paper and fabric) seeking to displace the touchstones of scale that anchor us, bringing the physical and material limits between things into question. Crucially, her work aims to show how circumstances dictate what we see, feel and think, and how these things are always shifting. This commission will enable the artist to use Birmingham Museums’ Collections Centre as her expanded studio, encouraging a new direction for the artist whose practice until now has been entirely studio-based, and enabling a new and wider repertoire of information and engagement. The collection consists of over 500,000 objects dating from the Palaeolithic era 200,000 years ago to the present and embraces fine and applied arts, archaeology and social history. The museum collection centre’s layout and contents, with its main warehouse arranged according to size and weight rather than chronologically or thematically, poses an intriguing connection to Jess’s sculptural interests. The display of seemingly unrelated objects in terms of spatial proximity, differences in scale, subject matter as well as the overall diversity of Birmingham’s collection chimes with Jess’s citation of many inter-connecting references in her work allowing innovative overlaps of visual, historical and cultural analogies. For the artist, this bid to make explicit her thought and physical processes in her art-making connects to timely changes in Birmingham city-centre which sees the opening of a new central library in September 2013. Whilst the new Library of Birmingham fills the city’s thirst for knowledge, it also sees the demolition of the old building in 2015, considered an icon of Brutalist architecture. This juxtaposition of old and new, scale and weight, materials, design and temporality provide rich starting points for what we believe will be an exciting and ambitious new body of work of local and national significance.

The Hepworth Wakefield with artist Des Hughes
Using contradictory or unconventional materials, Des Hughes’ sculptures often go through a series of processes that subvert the objects’ statuses to offer a richer understanding of their purpose and materiality. This experimental use of materials subverts preconceived notions of art history, allowing an alternative and often more direct understanding of the artistic process that can be both amusing and deeply touching. Exploring the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection and archival material relating to Henry Moore, Des Hughes will focus on the recent removal of Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture, Draped Reclining Figure (1979) from public display in Castleford as an alternative route into exploring the work of Henry Moore and British Modernism. Erected in 1980, Henry Moore’s Draped Reclining Figure was recently removed from outside the civic centre in Castleford in order to protect it from vandalism. Hughes has already started to explore the archive relating to the public placement and subsequent removal of the sculpture, along with local documentation and information about Moore’s Castleford birthplace. Hughes is suggesting that the removal of Draped Reclining Figure from the public realm has now opened up an opportunity to reconsider the work’s status with the artist proposing a series of large-scale reclining rusted figures that both ‘commemorate’ and replace the Castleford sculpture.  It is the ambition of this project to not only commission a permanent public sculpture for The Hepworth Wakefield but to work closely with the wider Wakefield Museum/Cultural Services team to create a site-specific work for Castleford, forging links between the two locations and opening up discussion and debate around the role of public art.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with artist Lucy McKenzie
Lucy McKenzie is a Glasgow-born artist working with an expanded practice with painting at its centre. This practice encompasses many forms within visual communication with particular focus on testing the boundaries between art and design and draws on hugely varied sources and art histories. The artists’ on-going interest in and use of traditional techniques, including trompe l’oeil and decorative painting, would allow for meaningful connections and relationships to be made with the historical holdings and extensive archive of the Scottish National Gallery. The commission would enable the artist to create a new work which replicates the ambition of her most recent works and in particular the presentation ‘Something They Have to Live With’ shown at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This exhibition, along with other recent projects, was a large scale installation comprising multiple parts (paintings, sculptures, models and clothing) in a variety of materials. Many of the concerns explored within ‘Something They Have to Live With’, are those which McKenzie has been interested in for some time; gender relations, architecture, fashion, artisanal culture, as well as those ideas surrounding the politics or construction of space – what is private or public, real or idealised, masculine or feminine. The work would have an important place within the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s collection, particularly in relation to its holdings of Scottish modernism, and world-class archive that represents key areas of the international avant-garde and would be the first of the artists’ works to enter a public collection in Scotland.

For further information, contact:
Robert Dingle, National Network & Strategic Projects Manager
robert@contemporaryartsociety.org
+44 (0)20 7017 8405

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Notes:

1. ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY ANNUAL AWARD FOR MUSEUMS
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 £60,000 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. Museums must be able to commit at least £5,000 towards the development of a publication or catalogue, and £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; and last year’s winners, The Collection & Usher Gallery, Lincoln (with artist Oliver Laric).

2. ABOUT THE 2013 SHORTLIST

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
Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price is an artist who uses images, text and music to explore archives and collections. While her work is informed by mainstream cinema and experimental film, it is mostly concerned with the medium of digital video and its comparative ubiquity in today’s culture. Exploring the archives and collections of the university’s museums, focusing especially on the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museums (The Pitt Rivers cares for Oxford’s holdings of anthropology and world archaeology), the commission would enable the artist to make a new film that discloses the different taxonomic systems that have been employed by and shaped the two institutions.

Birmingham Museums with artist Jess Flood-Paddock
Rooted in sculpture, Jess Flood-Paddock’s work focuses on the emotional dimension of objects and what that can tell us about human interaction. Also employing photography, video and scenic painting, her work is often realised on a large-scale in ‘un-monumental’ materials (e.g. plywood, paper and fabric). Drawing on Birmingham Museum’s Collection Centre, which consists of over 500,000 objects dating from the Palaeolithic era 200,000 years ago to the present, the commission offers the artist a unique starting point for her research and encourages a new direction for the artist whose practice until now has been entirely studio-based. The Museum’s Collections Centre in Birmingham will act as her expanded studio and enable a new and wider repertoire of information and engagement.

The Hepworth Wakefield with artist Des Hughes
Using contradictory or unconventional materials, Des Hughes’ sculptures often go through a series of processes that subvert the objects’ statuses to offer a richer understanding of their purpose and materiality. Exploring the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection and archival material relating to Henry Moore as part of his initial archive research, Des Hughes will focus on the recent removal of Henry Moor’s bronze sculpture, Draped Reclining Figure (1979) from public display in Castleford as an unlikely alternative route into exploring the work of Henry Moore and British Modernism.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with artist Lucy McKenzie
Lucy McKenzie is a Glasgow-born artist whose singular approach to painting draws on hugely varied sources and art histories. The artists’ on-going interest in and use of traditional techniques would allow for meaningful connections to be made with the historical holdings and extensive archive of the Scottish National Gallery. The commission would become the first of the artist’s works to enter a public collection within Scotland.

3. ABOUT THE 2013 JUDGING PANEL

BRIAN GRIFFITHS (ARTIST AND TUTOR, ROYAL ACADEMY SCHOOLS)
Since graduating from Goldsmiths College in the late 1990s, Brian Griffiths has been making sculpture and installations of overblown theatricality and pathos. His work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. He has had solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, Arnolfini, A Foundation, Vilma Gold, Galeria Luisa Strina and internationally has shown work at numerous museums including Tate Britain, The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, CAPC museum in Bordeaux, Mostra D’Arte Contemporanea in Milan and Belém Museum of Modern Art, Brazil. He was recently shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth commission and was included in British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet. A monograph on the artist, Brian Griffiths: Crummy Love, was published by Koenig In 2011. He is presently Senior Tutor at the Royal Academy Schools, London.

CHARLOTTE HIGGINS (CHIEF ARTS WRITER, THE GUARDIAN)
Charlotte Higgins is the chief arts writer at The Guardian. She contributes to The Guardian’s news, features, op-ed, literary and arts sections, and writes the Charlotte Higgins on Culture blog. Charlotte began her career in journalism on Vogue magazine in 1995 and moved to The Guardian in 1997. She joined the arts desk in 1999, and the following year became classical music editor. In 2004 Charlotte moved to The Guardian’s newsroom to become arts correspondent, reporting from the UK as well as overseas, including Venezuela, China and the Palestinian Territories. Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Charlotte has a degree in classics from Oxford. She is the author of Latin Love Lessons, and It’s All Greek to Me (both published by Short Books) and her third, Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, was published in 2013 by Jonathan Cape. She won the 2010 Classical Association prize. Charlotte is a keen amateur violinist and chamber musician.

ELIZABETH NEILSON (DIRECTOR, ZABLUDOWICZ COLLECTION)
Since joining the Zabludowicz Collection in January 2006, Elizabeth has overseen the strategy, acquisitions and the direction of the Collection. She is also responsible for the exhibition programme and residencies in all locations. She completed an MA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2005 and a BA in Art History and Women’s Studies from The University of East London in 2003. Founded in 1994 by Poju and Anita Zabludowicz, the Zabludowicz Collection is a dynamic and growing collection spanning four decades of art, from the 1970s to today, and exhibits in venues in the UK, USA and Finland. The Collection actively creates new opportunities for audiences to engage with emerging art, and supports arts organisations and artists around the world. Its activities are shaped by an ethos of philanthropy and a commitment to engaging with local contexts and communities.

KIRSTY OGG (CURATOR, WHITECHAPEL GALLERY)
Since May 2009, Kirsty Ogg has been Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London, where her projects have included Claire Barclay’s Bloomberg Commission, a survey of Gerard Byrne’s work, Karl Blossfeldt’s photography and The London Open. Between 1998 – 2008 she was the Director of The Showroom, London. During her time at The Showroom, Kirsty worked with artists including Jim Lambie, Claire Barclay, Eva Rothschild, Subodh Gupta, Richard Hughes and Daria Martin on the development and presentation of their first solo shows in London. After graduating from the Sculpture Department at Edinburgh College of Art in 1990, Kirsty was a member of the organizing committee at Transmission, 1993 – 1996. She then went on to work at Norwich Gallery at Norwich School of Art & Design. Kirsty is currently a lecturer on the MA Curating Course at Goldsmiths.

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