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The 2020 Turner prize was cancelled in favor of a $122,000 fund for artists.

Daria Simone Harper
May 26, 2020 5:09PM, via The Guardian

The entrance of Tate Britain. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Administrators of the Turner Prize have cancelled the 2020 edition in light of COVID-19, opting to instead grant 10 commendable artists with awards of £10,000 ($12,200) each. Shortlisted artists will be announced in June. Like the original prize, this one-time grant will be open to British and Britain-based artists who have made notable contributions to contemporary art.

Ordinarily, judges would be announcing the prize’s shortlisted artists this month. The selected artists would then create work for a fall exhibition, with a £25,000 ($30,800) winner being announced in December. According to The Guardian, Tate Britain, which organizes the prize, stressed the difficulty of putting on the annual exhibition “under the present restrictions.”

Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain, said in a statement quoted by The Guardian:

We have decided to help support even more artists during this exceptionally difficult time. I think JMW Turner, who once planned to leave his fortune to support artists in their hour of need, would approve of our decision. I appreciate visitors will be disappointed that there is no Turner prize this year, but we can all look forward to it returning in 2021.

This pivot will also allow Tate Britain to support a larger group of artists during a time of global uncertainty. This year’s panel of judges includes Richard Birkett, curator at large at the Institute of Contemporary Arts; Sarah Munro, director of the BALTIC centre for contemporary art in Gateshead; Fatos Üstek, director of Liverpool Biennial; and curator and designer Duro Olowu.

Last year, for the first time in the Turner Prize’s history, the shortlisted artists—Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shanishared the prize after forming a collective.

Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019