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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
TV Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Jurassic World trailer: Chris Pratt stars in full-length trailer with Bryce Dallas and Ty Simpkins
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel set to become bestseller
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police