Turner Prize Embraces Diversity by Lifting Under-50 Age Rule

A new market trend has turned mature, overlooked artists into the new emerging stars.

Installation view of Helen Marten’s exhibition at the Turner Prize 2016. Courtesy Joe Humphrys ©Tate Photography.

The Turner Prize has changed its rules to accommodate artists of all ages—a major decision that indicates a shift in what exactly defines an emerging artist.

The previous regulation that limited the award to artists under 50 had been in place since 1991.

In recent years, however, the art world has seemed to depart from associating the term “emerging” with youth, with many artists seeing large-scale success later in life.

Such examples include Phyllida Barlow, 72, who is representing the UK in this year’s Venice Biennale; 81-year-old Barbara Kasten, whose 2015 survey at the ICA in Philadelphia was her first; Carmen Herrera, who sold her first painting at age 89; Henry Taylor, 59, who is featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial; and Noah Purifoy, who died in 2004 at the age of 87.

“The Turner Prize has always championed emerging artists. It has never been a prize for long service but for a memorable presentation of work in that year,” Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury, said in a statement.

“Now that its reputation is so firmly established, we want to acknowledge the fact that artists can experience a breakthrough in their work at any stage,” he concluded.

Along with the announcement, Tate also released details of the 2018 Turner Prize’s jury panel.

It is composed of Oliver Basciano, art 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 novelist and writer Tom McCarthy.

The Turner Prize was created in 1984 and originally allowed for any person working in the arts to win, including critics, curators, and gallery directors. It was limited to artists only in 1988, specifically those living or working in Britain.

The four shortlisted artists for the 2017 iteration will be announced in May.

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.