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New Prize to Honor Artists Under 35Source: NYTimes.com. Author: CAROL VOGEL. Published on December 8th, 2009
A new $100,000 prize for artists under the age of 35 is being announced on Tuesday by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 by its namesake Ukrainian billionaire and art collector.
The award, the Future Generation Art Prize, will be given every two years and is open to any young artist who applies online. About 100 professionals will also be asked to nominate candidates they think are producing exceptional work. Though the jury has yet to be announced, Mr. Pinchuk has drafted an international board of starry names that include Elton John and Miuccia Prada.
In a telephone interview Mr. Pinchuk said he created the competition after serving on the jury of Geisai (art festival in Japanese), a semiannual contest for young Japanese artists sponsored by Takashi Murakami and his company, Kaikai Kiki. “It was a very fascinating system,” said Mr. Pinchuk, whose center in Kiev exhibits works he has collected by Mr. Murakami, Damien Hirst and others. “I am hoping that the Future Generation Art Prize will help promote the Ukraine and Kiev as an important contemporary art center.”
The $100,000 award comes with strings: because Mr. Pinchuk wanted to ensure that the winner keeps working, he said, $40,000 of the purse must go into the production of art.
And à la “American Idol,” the public will also have something of a say. “We wanted this to be a totally democratic process,” Mr. Pinchuk said. After the finalists are announced, the public can vote online for the winner of a noncash People’s Choice Prize.
This isn’t the first time the public has had a role in such a competition. This fall, more than 1,200 artists took part in the $250,000 ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the winner was chosen through popular ballot.
With online entries Mr. Pinchuk is trying to differentiate his prize, an international version of a Ukrainian honor he also sponsors, from more well-established awards like the prestigious Turner Prize, a $36,400 award established in 1984 by the Tate in London, and the Hugo Boss Prize, the 13-year-old $50,000 award sponsored by the German men’s wear company and given every two years by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Winners of those prizes are chosen from nominations by a jury of arts professionals.
And unlike the Turner or Hugo Boss Prizes, the new award is infused with a bit of star power with a board that includes the Los Angeles financier Eli Broad, who also runs an art foundation; Ms. Prada, the fashion designer and collector who runs her own art foundation in Milan; and the singer Elton John because, Mr. Pinchuk said, “from my point of view, Elton has one of the best contemporary photography collections in the world.” (It’s no coincidence that the Pinchuk Art Center has shown Mr. John’s holdings.)
The board also includes museum directors: Richard Armstrong from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, Glenn D. Lowry from the Museum of Modern Art, Alfred Pacquement from the Pompidou Center in Paris and Nicholas Serota from the Tate.
Applications can be submitted from Jan. 18 through April 18 at futuregenerationartprize.org. Twenty short-listed artists will be announced on June 22 and receive an exhibition at the Pinchuk Art Center in Kiev. Their works will be posted online and a winner will be announced in December along with up to five runners-up.
“We also wanted to make sure that an older generation of artists helps the younger,” said Eckhard Schneider, general director of the Pinchuk Art Center. So he and Mr. Pinchuk have enlisted several established names — Mr. Hirst, Mr. Murakami, Andreas Gursky and Jeff Koons, artists whose work Mr. Pinchuk collects — to serve as mentors who will make themselves available to the finalists and the winner. An additional $20,000 will be allotted to artist-in-residency programs for the runners-up.