At the award ceremony on Tuesday evening, Turner Prize history was made when all four finalists were announced winners. After a plea to the judges, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani split the $52,000 prize equally in a ceremony held offsite from the prize's typical home in London's Tate Modern. In a joint letter written to the jury, quoted in full in a recent press release, the artists said, “At this time of political crisis in Britain and much of the world, when there is already so much that divides and isolates people and communities, we feel strongly motivated to use the occasion of the Prize to make a collective statement in the name of commonality, multiplicity, and solidarity—in art as in society.” It's worth noting that none of the artists had ever met each other before being shortlisted. Due to the nature of the artists' work, which includes themes of migration, patriarchy, and civil rights, they urged the judges not to pit subjects against each other. The judges unanimously decided to honor their request and praised their commitment to the power of the collective: “We are honored to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times. Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work.” One of the winners, Abu Hamdan, describes himself as an “audio investigator” and makes work that explores the “politics of listening” and the role of voice within human rights. His installations and performances reflect in-depth research and investigative work and he has worked with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Defense for Children International. He is also a member of Forensic Architecture, the art-and-architecture research collective that was shortlisted for the same prize in 2018. The prize has never been won collectively in its 35-year history, and perhaps never will going forward. The decision is ultimately sparking conversation on the complicated nature and relevance of cultural awards in the first place. A recent The New York Times headline asks, “What’s the Point of the Turner Prize, Anyway?” and The Guardian wrote, “annually [the prize] seems to divide audiences as much as it brings them together.” But, just like Tate’s website states on the homepage, “The Turner Prize provokes debate about art.” Year after year, it continues to do so.
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Starting September 24 and running through January 5, 2020, the Tate Britain will offer visitors a new perspective on something monumental in its ubiquity: a highway. A new life-sized replica of a stretch of the M53 highway and overpass located near Wirral, Merseyside, is coming to the museum via Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey. This same stretch of pavement that he's creating, located near his hometown, has also made an appearance in his 2015 film, Dream English Kid, 1964-1999 AD. The replica is part sculpture and part stage set, and the structure will also be the backdrop for an audio play. The piece in both of its forms -- freestanding artwork and active, designed environment -- will be one of the most imposing works included in Leckey’s ambitious, large-scale exhibition for the Tate, titled O Magic Power of Bleakness. The highway in all its ugly, functionalist glory may be the exact pulse of ‘bleakness’ that Leckey is going for in his title choice. Born in 1964, in the midst of the automobile culture boom, the artist has seen the highway become a staple of the modern commute, landscape, and mainstream imagination. The open roads and endless stretches of asphalt are at once overtly familiar, yet a deeper dive reveals and reminds that they also act as spaces of harbored secrets, sheltering the fringes of society congregating at under- and overpasses such as the section immortalized by Leckey’s sculpture. The Tate describes the upcoming exhibition as “focusing on a group of teenagers, the play is inspired by folklore and stories of changelings and ‘fairy raids’ and by the artist’s own pre-adolescent experiences.” Described as having haunted the artist’s work throughout his career, the ominous subject of the highway has a great potential due to its sheer size and imposing materiality to exert a certain power over visitors. Leckey has worked with collage, found objects, and video to create powerful commentary and conversations surrounding themes like nostalgia, pop cultural imagery, and anxiety. His first taste of the Tate came in 2002 -- his current wife, Lizzie Carey Thomas, had accepted a job as a curator of contemporary art and asked Leckey to make a performance piece. He chose to "borrow" one of the museum's most iconic sculptures, a Jacob Epstein work titled Jacob and the Angel. He positioned a speaker system on a pedestal nearby, laid out so the speaker and sculpture seemed to be facing off in competition. He then played music at a deafening volume. Catherine Wood, curator of performance art at the Tate, told the Guardian that “the Epstein was an iconic work I had looked at 1,000 times. Suddenly it became tender… He was possessing the museum – possessing it with our culture.” Maybe, with the re-presentation of the M53, Leckey will be able to possess the museum all over again.
The London-based Forensic Architecture, a research agency that uses architectural thinking and modeling skills to investigate crimes and disasters, has been shortlisted for one of the art world’s most prestigious prizes. Forensic Architecture joins artists Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger, and Luke Willis Thompson in the running for the Tate Britain’s 2018 Turner Prize. Started in 1984, the Turner Prize is open to any British artist, whether that artist (or group) is living abroad or is simply working in the country. While the tradition of nominating artists under 50 was amended last year to allow those over that number, all of this year’s shortlisted entrants happen to be younger than 50. The Turner Prize is designed to stimulate the creation and discussion of new art by emerging artists, and past winners have often gone on to successful careers in the art world, including Damien Hurst (1995), director Steve McQueen (1999), and Anish Kapoor (1991). Winners also receive approximately $35,000 in prize money, while the runners-up are given approximately $7,000. Forensic Architecture, founded in 2010 and based out of southeast London’s Goldsmiths, University of London, includes a multidisciplinary team of scientists, journalists, architects, software developers and artists. Blurring the line between architecture, investigative reporting and art, the group has uncovered evidence of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings all over the world. Using social media and eyewitness accounts, the group is recreating the Grenfell Tower fire timeline; has contradicted the official account given by a German undercover officer who claimed to have not witnessed a nearby murder in an internet café; and uncovered the U.S. bombing of an active mosque in Syria. These investigations have been turned into exhibitions shown all over the world, and the Turner Prize nomination is for their recent shows in London, Mexico City, and Barcelona. Nominee Naeem Mohaiemen’s varied, research-led work examines the transitionary period for left politics following World War II, and has been shown in solo exhibitions around the world, including MoMA PS1. His nomination follows his participation in the currently ongoing Documenta 14. Charlotte Prodger, a video and mixed-media artist, has been nominated for her solo show examining the autobiographical intermingling between humans and technology at the Bergen Kunsthall in Bergen, Norway. At 30 years old, Luke Willis Thompson is the youngest of this year’s nominees. His work examines the histories and traumas of class, race and social injustice. This year’s jury includes Oliver Basciano, critic and International Editor at ArtReview; Elena Filipovic, Director of the Kunsthalle Basel; Lisa LeFeuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute; and Tom McCarthy, novelist and writer. The winner of this year’s Turner Prize will be announced in December 2018.
Spread across Luhring Augustine’s Chelsea and Bushwick locations, Sculpture explores its namesake form with work from 17 artists—living and dead—made over the past six decades. Given that sculpture already shares a fuzzy boundary with other spatial practices, the exhibition unsurprisingly features a number of artists working explicitly with architecture and the built environment. Perhaps the most well-known artist who deals with architecture and one of the biggest living names in the exhibition is British artist and Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread, famous (or infamous, depending who you ask) for her three-story sculpture, House (1993). Whiteread has two pieces on display in Sculpture. In Bushwick, there is the ghostly cast plaster and polystyrene work Untitled (Double) (1998). The long, monumental prism is simultaneously unitary—a single long form—and an identical pair, defined by deep symmetrical grooves. A visual paradox, it uncannily uncouples precisely through its coupling. Untitled (Double) continues Whiteread’s use of casting and molds to trouble the binaries of absence and presence and constructed and negative space, exploring the entanglement of memory and built worlds. In Chelsea, Whiteread’s Untitled (Amber Floor) (1993) is on display. The rubber slab is nearly eight feet long, invading the viewer’s space while its small fold crawls up the wall, calling attention to the gallery’s form as a whole. It forces one to notice the unnoticed—the very floor they are standing upon. Complementing Whiteread’s work in Bushwick is a sculpture by Los Angeles-based Oscar Tuazon, who the gallery will be presenting in a solo show at its Chelsea location beginning April 28th. Though primarily self-identifying as a sculptor, Tuazon occupies a space between artist, architect, and activist. He creates sculptural work, installations, and public sites that are constantly in flux, their maintenance and use thus becoming part of their artistic production. Tuazon’s contribution, Condenser (Venta Contracta) (2015), is a tilted pyramid of concrete and fiberglass tubes that reconfigure the familiar, if often hidden, forms of urban infrastructure. Like Whiteread, German artist Reinhard Mucha explores the intersection of memory and the built world, often simultaneously recalling personal and political meanings.The diptych Untitled (“Pearl Paint” New York West Side Highway 1977) (1998) (displayed in Chelsea) and the two-part “ensemble” of works Before the Wall Came Down (2008) and Lennep (2009) (on view in Bushwick) are bricolages of found materials, enamel, oil paint, readymade objects such as stools and rulers, and images which memorialize the artist’s own collaborative urban interventions. The work in Sculpture takes many scales and styles. Some are decidedly smaller, such as the mononymous artist Zarina’s wall-mounted sculpture Memory of Bangkok (1980–2011) which exhibits an architectural interest rendered with a printmaker’s sensibility. Glenn Ligon takes language itself as his material, while some artists like Cady Noland and Tunga rely on everyday objects—construction barriers, oversized lamps, vases, beer cans—in their work. The show has nearly too many artists to mention, as Simone Leigh, Janine Antoni, Tom Friedman, Roger Hiorns, Steve Wolfe, Phillip King, Jeremy Moon, Martin Kippenberger, Pipilotti Rist, and Christopher Wool are all also featured in the two-gallery, two-burrough exhibition. Not only expansive in its roster, Sculpture displays work produced over a wide swath of time (Phillip King’s Ripple was originally produced in 1963 and Jeremy Moon’s Untitled is from 1964 while Simone Leigh’s Opuwo is from this year). Despite (or, perhaps, precisely because of) the range in dates of the objects’ creations, Sculpture makes no attempt at organizing a clear trajectory or historical narrative. However, many of the artists are represented by Luhring Augustine or have shown with the gallery before, suggesting that the exhibition is a self-portrait of the gallery of sorts. In this way, we perhaps can see Sculpture as a look at the gallery’s history rather than at the history of a form. Even still, with its wide-reaching constellation of work, Sculpture highlights the plurality of materials, means, and motivations behind sculptural practice of the past six decades. Sculpture Luhring Augustine 531 West 24th Street, New York, NY and 25 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY On view in Chealsea until April 14 and in Bushwick until May 5
Forget a reformed LCD Soundsystem and Guns N’ Roses, the line-up for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival keeps getting more architectural. First we heard of Bureau Spectacular, now AN’s ears picked up news that Turner Prize–winning social impact wunderkind Assemble could be part of the desert festivities one day.
At a ceremony in Glasgow on Monday, the 18-member, London-based architecture and design collective Assemble was awarded the Turner Prize, for Granby Four Streets, its collaborative, community-engaged renovations of Victorian-era homes in Liverpool. The annual award is Britain's most prestigious honor for contemporary artists under 50. This is the only the second time the Turner Prize has been awarded to more than one artist (Gilbert & George won in 1986). The winner receives a cash prize of £25,000 ($38,000). In a statement, the prize jury praised Assemble's social justice focus: “They draw on long traditions of artistic and collective initiatives that experiment in art, design and architecture. In doing so they offer alternative models to how societies can work.” Assemble doesn't think of itself as a group of artists, per se. Instead, the collective "[works] across the fields of art, architecture and design. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made. Assemble champion a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realization of the work." Granby Four Streets builds on the neighborhood's grassroots, but well established preservation work, recruiting and training young people to renovate the homes for resale. Preservation and investment saves the neglected or run-down rowhouses from demolition. At homegoods store Tramway, Assemble sells handmade household items made by Liverpool residents at the Granby Workshop, a parallel project. In addition to their Liverpool projects, the group built the Baltic Street Adventure Playground, in Glasgow, and Yardhouse, a two-story, three-bay workspace with cheap artist's studios for rent. Some in the media questioned whether an art prize could rightfully go to a group of builders who reject the term artist. Others praised the jury's choice as a recognition of the broad definition of art, and the importance of socially responsive projects. Assemble explains their process and their ambivalence around the term "artist" in this video. The three other nominees were Nicole Wermer’s “Infrastruktur,” Janice Kerbel's "DOUG," and Bonnie Camplin's "The Military Industrial Complex." Last year, Duncan Campbell won for "It for Others," a four episode video series that explores the value of art through Marxism, anthropomorphic ketchup dispensers, and the IRA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PDFVAE0q7g