Shortlist Announced for the First Hepworth Prize for Sculpture

The shortlist is as strong as it is varied.

The four shortlisted artists for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture have been announced and include Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten, and David Medalla. The shortlist is varied as, unlike many prizes, there is no age restriction for the Hepworth Prize, although it is only open to British-based artists.

“The launch of the UK’s first Prize for Sculpture is a fitting legacy to Barbara Hepworth, one of Britain’s greatest sculptors whose career was enhanced through a variety of awards, from her early scholarships the Grand Prix at the 1959 São Paulo Biennale,” said Dr Sophie Bowness trustee of the Hepworth Wakefield and granddaughter of the master sculptor.

The shortlist was compiled by a panel including Lisa Le Feuvre, director of the Henry Moore Institute; Sally Tallant, the director of the Liverpool Biennial; and Bart van der Heide, the chief curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The winner, will be awarded a whopping £30,000 ($43,115) making the Hepworth Prize Britain’s second highest behind the Artes Mundi Prize.

British artist Phyllida Barlow <br> Photo: Niklas Halle'n/ AFP/ Getty

British artist Phyllida Barlow
Photo: Niklas Halle’n/ AFP/ Getty

“It was a surprise and huge honor to be short-listed for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture,” said Barlow, who will be representing Britain at the next Venice Biennale in 2017.

“Without doubt, it will be a thrilling experience to exhibit at The Hepworth Wakefield and to take into consideration its dynamic architecture, which has sculpture very much in mind. It is also exciting to be exhibiting with the three other short-listed artists,” she added.

The shortlisted artists will show their work at the Hepworth Wakefield in an exhibition that opens in October 2016 with the winner announced at an awards dinner in November.

A panel of judges includes Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of Castello di Rivoli and the GAM in Turin; architect David Chipperfield, who designed the Hepworth Wakefield; collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; critic Alastair Sooke; and Sheika Hoor al-Qasimi, president of the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Barbara Hepworth working on the prototype of the United Nations ’Single Form’, St Ives, Cornwall, (1963) <br> Photo: Studio St Ives © Bowness

Barbara Hepworth working on the prototype of the United Nations ’Single Form’, St Ives, Cornwall, (1963)
Photo: Studio St Ives © Bowness

“We are delighted to have such a strong and diverse shortlist for our inaugural Prize and are looking forward to working with these artists and to inspire and engage our audiences with the medium of sculpture,” enthused Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield and chair of the selecting panel in a statement from the museum. “We have based the selection of the four shortlisted artists on the significance of their contribution to sculpture in its broadest definition,” he added.

Regardless of whoever wins the prize in November, the shortlist is already getting a better reaction than the Turner Prize which seems to draw consternation from all quarters of the art world and art-going public.

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