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Three awards in the art world that everyone should know about

Posted on May - 18 - 2017

Yoko Ono receives the Golden Lion she was awarded for her career from Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari during the inauguration ceremony of the 53rd Biennale International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, Saturday, June 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)

Yoko Ono receives the Golden Lion she was awarded for her career from Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari during the inauguration ceremony of the 53rd Biennale International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, Saturday, June 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)

Yoko Ono winning life time award, Golden Lion. Photo courtesy: Contemporary Psycotherapy

The career of a commercially successful artist is not built overnight; it takes years of original and evolving production, exposure to the international public and being a coveted artist at fairs and galleries to reach that status. On the way to achieving either wealth and fame, or just intellectual recognition, one of the stepping-stones are the competitions and prizes won along the way. These sought-after awards are highly competitive and winning one will bring the artist both financial support and international attention.  In the world arena, where the hegemonic cultural centers dictate what art is worth and what artists should have attention paid to them, foundations and institutions amass a substantial sum for their prizes. There are currently many honors out there, but they’re always those who are the Oscars of the art world and any artists dream of obtaining. Here are among the top three. What do you think?

The Golden & Silver Lions 

The Venice Biennale is the oldest and biggest event in the art world, the Olympics of the art world. The price was initially set in 1938 as a Grand Prize and ran until 1968 when it was abolished until 1986. Since its return, it honors the best national participations and the most promising artists at the Biennale. The winners are at the top of their game and are part of the elite of the art world, among them, you can find  Antoni Tapies, Nam June Paik, Marina Abramovic, Gerhard Richter, Christian Marclay, Bruce Nauman, Christoph Schlingensief, Jenny Holzer, Daniel Buren and Tino Sehgal. In 2005, Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo won the Golden Lion to young artists under 35. This year the Biennale has announced the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Carolee Schneemann.

The Turner Prize

Another award named after a great master J.M.W. Turner, the Turner Prize is an annual award presented, organized by the Tate gallery to British visual artists since its origins in 1984. Until this year it used to be only awarded to artists under the age of 50, but it has changed this year and broadened its age range. Over the years it’s become one of the most publicized awards in the art world, particularly associated with the Young British Artists whose careers were skyrocketed into superstardom. Some of the most memorable moments are The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst and My Bed by Tracey Emin. Amongst the winners that grace the list are Gilbert and George (1986), Anish Kapoor  (1991), Rachael Whiteread (1993), Antony Gormley (1994), Damien Hirst (1995), Steve McQueen (1999) and many other known names. These years shortlist include Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid and Rosalind Nashashibi where the winner will be announced on December 5th.

Damien Hirst: A Retrospective 1984 – 2006. Photo courtesy: Tate

The Duchamp Prize 

Awarded by ADIAF (Association for the International Diffusion of French Art) and Centre Pompidou and FIAC, the prize aims to promote French art and encourage innovative and new art, awarding French artists or artists living France. The honor goes to successful artists from a list of four to five nominated by collectors and chosen by a jury of art heavy hitters, curators and other collectors. The prize offers the hefty sum of $45,000 an up to $39,000 for a piece destined to be exhibited at the Centre Pompidou. This price is very sought-after by the artist’s community, but a little limited to the artists that are considered to carry on Duchamp’s legacy, although its very aim is to promote French art.  Not a little honor to have to your name.

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz

Photo courtesy: Adiaf