Turner Prize Goes to Array Collective, an Art Protest Group

COVENTRY, United Kingdom — serial batchA group of 11 artists participating in political protests in Northern Ireland, wearing carnivalesque costumes and holding funny, provocative banners, have won the Turner Prize, British art’s top prize.

The announcement was made at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral in this British city on Wednesday night. an exhibition of works by artists nominated for this year’s award is also held.

Tate Britain director and Turner jury chairman Alex Farquharson said in an interview that Array won for street interventions and artworks that “bring light, hope and a sense of humor” to protests about abortion and gay rights. Referring to Northern Ireland’s long history of sectarianism, he added that his work “suggests a way out or a way forward in a very serious context”.

“Live art and performance have a pretty strong, avant-garde legacy,” he said. “The way they do it is new and different.”

soon Abortion rights rallies in Northern IrelandArray came up with lighthearted banners featuring the antique – and quite graphic – figure of sheela na gig. They also joined other rallies dressed as cakes. At the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, Array built a bar inside one of the galleries and covered its ceiling with political protest banners.

Array is the first collective to win the award since 2015. Assemble, an architecture and design group, triumphs. The Belfast-based group defeated the other four collectives. Black Obsidian Sound System, a group of black queer, trans, and nonbinary people who organize club nights and Cooking Sections, his art highlights the problems of salmon farming. There were other candidates Gentle/Radicalis a Wales-based group of faith ministers and youth workers who aim to bring art to poor families and Project Artworks, a neurodiverse artists community.

The series will receive £25,000 (approximately $33,000) while the other shortlisted artists will receive £10,000 (approximately $13,000).

First awarded in 1984, the Turner Prize has helped transform some of its recipients. Damien Hirst and Steve McQueen, to household names in England. However, it has long sparked controversy here, with newspapers regularly criticizing the award nominees for being too conceptual or far from mainstream tastes.

This year was no different, with some art critics complaining about the choice of five collectives rather than individual artists, especially since their work seems more about political activism than art.

Reviewing candidates’ workThe Times of London critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston praised the artist collectives for being committed to political change. “The problem,” he added, “is their art is terrible.”

Some artists have also addressed the issue. Jake Chapman, half of the Chapman Brothers nominated for the 2003 award He told The New York Times last month He said the award now serves a “very defined and performative sense of social responsibility” that limits its ability to showcase experimental and more open-ended art.

Farquharson said the collectives were chosen in part because it meant that few exhibitions of individual artists took place in the UK last year due to the pandemic. He said it was natural to seek out artists working in their communities, adding that Array’s victory “proves the usefulness” of that decision.

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