Instant stardom and ...$100,000: Oligarch announces new art prize
Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons are among the people behind a new award for young artists launched by a Ukrainian billionaire. Andrew Johnson reports
Sunday 13 December 2009
Its wealthy and famous backers hope it will be the biggest art prize in the world – propelling the winners to instant reality show-style fame. Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons are two of the global art stars who are backing the Future Generation Prize, launched by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk last week. Elton John and the director of the Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota, are also involved.
Mr Pinchuk said the prize is to "discover and provide long-term support for a generation of emerging artists". Entrants must be under 35 and while the prize money of $100,000 (£60,000) may be comparatively modest, the global scope of the biennial competition and the promise of long-term mentoring by someone like Hirst means the winner could be propelled to instant stardom.
Applications will be via the internet and the winner will be picked by a jury made up of Mr Pinchuk and the heads of the world's leading museums, including the director of the Guggenheim in New York, Richard Armstrong, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, Glenn D Lowry, as well as Sir Nicholas Serota of the Tate.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Louisa Buck, the contemporary art critic of The Art Newspaper, was circumspect. "The more prizes that feed into the ecosystem the better," she said. "But Pinchuk seems to have picked a rather predictable line-up of judges: the big-name artists he collects and the Tate, which is always desperate for funding. These days everyone is especially keen to chase what's left of the oligarch rouble. The test will be to see if this prize has long-term legs or if it's just a one-hit wonder."
Damien Hirst said he was involved in the competition because "art needs to be encouraged". "All children draw and paint, and for some reason a lot of them stop," he said "In the beginning they all paint – even the bank managers, accountants and the lawyers. To encourage art is a great thing."
What was the most memorable arts event of 2009? In the comments form below (or via email to email@example.com) nominate your favourite - in film, music, theatre, comedy, dance or visual arts - with a brief explanation as to why it tops your list and we'll print a selection in The Independent Readers' Review of 2009.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
'We didn't really think we'd get away with it': The astonishing story of how two young Irish men completed an audacious £7m art heist
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
Eurovision: The worst lyrics in the contest's history from 'your bum is part of you' to 'stay cool in the swimming pool'
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear trio return in – 5 things we learned
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland