The Hepworth Wakefield Museum Launches Ambitious $45,000 Sculpture Prize

The Turner Prize is getting even more competition.

Barbara Hepworth with unfinished wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior (1963).
Photo: Val Wilmer /Hepworth Estate

The Hepworth Wakefield museum has announced the launch of a new art award devoted to contemporary British sculpture as part of its fifth anniversary plans for 2016.

The award will come with a £30,000 ($45,000) cash prize. The hefty sum is higher than the one currently offered to the winner of the UK’s most famous art award, the Turner Prize, which currently stands at £25,000 ($38,000).

The Hepworth prize, however, it is still not the highest in the country, a title proudly held (for now) by the Wales-based, biannual Artes Mundi Award, which awards its winner a £40,000 cash prize ($61,000). (Interestingly, last year’s winner, Theaster Gates, decided to split his earnings with his fellow nominees).

The new Hepworth prize for sculpture will be awarded biannually. A group of four shortlisted artists will present their works in the gallery in October 2016.

It is only fitting that the prize is devoted specifically to the medium of sculpture. The Hepworth Wakefield has a superb collection of rarely seen works by the legendary British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and the museum is also part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, which includes the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Henry Moore Institute, and Leeds Art Gallery.

The prize is open to all British-based artists, regardless of age or stage in their careers. The Turner Prize, for comparison, is awarded to artists up to 50 years of age.

“I find that so frustrating,” Simon Wallis, director of Hepworth Wakefield, told the Guardian. “One of the things I wanted to do away with right away was age restrictions, I’m simply not interested in whether someone is 21 or 101.”

Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the Hepworth Wakefield opened in 2011. Since then, the museum has received 1.4 million visitors and generated £20 million in the local economy.

The plans for the fifth anniversary of the Hepworth Wakefield will also feature a new 6,000 square meter riverside public garden, a retrospective of the photographer Martin Parr, and a display of artworks from the bequest of Tim Sayer, a former BBC Radio 4 news writer who collected, over the last 50 years, works by artists such as Alexander Calder, David Hockney, and Bridget Riley.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics