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Jury announced for John Moores Painting Prize 2020

National Museums Liverpool has announced the jury for the John Moores Painting Prize 2020, ahead of the call for entries opening from 17 February until 24 March 2020. The competition, held at the Walker Art Gallery, has celebrated the very best in modern and contemporary painting for more than 60 years. This year, it is also set to launch a new Emerging Artist Prize.

A combined total of almost £40,000 will be distributed across seven prizes, with the first prize winner collecting £25,000 and having a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery. The paintings are judged anonymously, with the biennial competition regularly attracting several thousand entries.

In addition to selecting the prizewinning works, the jurors decide which paintings will be exhibited in the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 exhibition, which takes place at the Walker Art Gallery from 19 September 2020 to 14 February 2021. The jury tasked with selecting the winners represent a diverse group of artists and creative influencers. They are: Hurvin Anderson; Michelle Williams Gamaker; Alison Goldfrapp; Jennifer Higgie and Gu Wenda.

Hurvin Anderson, a painter whose work explores spaces occupied by Caribbean immigrants, which function as sites for both social gatherings and economic enterprise. These settings represent the artist’s personal and cultural memories of functional spaces and shared experiences of the Caribbean. Born in Birmingham, United Kingdom, to parents of Jamaican descent, Anderson studied at the Wimbledon School of Art followed by the Royal College of Art, where he explored the relevance of figuration in a world dominated by abstraction and conceptual art. Since then, he has pursued both landscape and abstract painting. Anderson has exhibited extensively and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017.

Michelle Williams Gamaker, an artist working with moving image and performance. She is currently developing ‘fictional activism’; the restoration of marginalised characters of colour as central figures, who return as vocal protagonists to challenge the fictional injustices to which they have been historically consigned. She recently completed a trilogy of films titled Dissolution (2019), comprising House of Women (2017), The Fruit is There to be Eaten (2018) and The Eternal Return (2019). In May, she will premiere her new film The Silver Wave (2020) at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. Williams Gamaker is a Lecturer on the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths and is Chair of Trustees of the visual arts organisation Pavilion in Leeds.

Alison Goldfrapp is a British-based artist. She studied fine art at Middlesex University before embarking on a career in music that has spanned more than 26 years. Alison formed Goldfrapp with Will Gregory in 1999 and subsequently signed to Mute Records. Together they have released seven albums. The multi-platinum selling band have been nominated for the Mercury Prize, multiple Grammy Awards and won an Ivor Novello for Strict Machine. Goldfrapp have scored the soundtracks to the films My Summer of Love and Nowhere Boy as well as the music for Carrie Cracknell’s National Theatre production of Medea. Fine art, music and photography have played an equally vital role in her creative expression. Alison was chosen as the first ‘Performer as Curator’ for The Lowry, Salford, for her “remarkable synthesis of music and visual imagery”. She photographed the artwork for Goldfrapp’s recent album Silver Eye and directed music videos for their tracks Systemagic, Everything Is Never Enough and Ocean. Alison is currently producing a new series of artworks at her East London studio for a show later this year.

Jennifer Higgie is staff writer and Editor-at-large of frieze magazine, and the writer and presenter of Bow Down; the podcast about women in art history. She also writes screenplays and is the writer and illustrator of the children’s book There’s Not One. Higgie is the editor of The Artist’s Joke and author of the novel Bedlam. Her book The Mirror and the Palette, about women’s historical self-portraits, will be published in 2021. She has been a judge of the Paul Hamlyn Award and the Turner Prize, as well as a member of the selection panel for the British artist at the Venice Biennale and the advisory boards of Arts Council England, the Contemporary Art Society and the Imperial War Museum Art Commissions Committee.

Gu Wenda, an artist born in Shanghai. Wenda has lived and worked in both New York and Shanghai since 1988. In 1981, he received his MFA from China Academy of Arts, where he taught traditional Chinese painting from 1981 to 1987. In 1987, he received the Canada Council for the Arts award for visiting artists. In 1999, Gu Wenda’s art project United Nations made a cover story on the March issue of Art in America. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art at the Prudential Eye Awards, Singapore.

Artist, Hurvin Anderson said: “I’m honoured and excited to be included in this year’s John Moores Painting Prize jury. The Prize is well respected by painters and with good reason. There is always an interesting debate among artists when the winner is announced and I’ve often found that painters and the jury have shared the same opinion, so the Prize is considered an important and relevant reflection of contemporary painting. I’m looking forward to looking at some fantastic works and discussing them with my fellow jurors.”

Artist, Alison Goldfrapp said: “The John Moores Painting Prize has an unparalleled reputation for attracting some of the UK’s most talented and innovative artists. It’s a great honour being part of this year’s jury and taking on the challenge of choosing the prizewinning works. I’m expecting lots of lively debate across the panel as we delve into what I’m sure will be a diverse and exciting selection.”

Once they have selected the works for the exhibition, the jurors select a final shortlist of five paintings, from which the £25,000 first prizewinning work will be chosen and four additional prizes of £2,500 awarded. 

This year also sees the introduction of the Emerging Artist Prize, supported by Colart. The winner will receive £2,500, plus premium art materials of the same value. Applicants for the Emerging Artist Prize, which eligible entrants may opt into, are still able to win any of the other competition prizes.

Ann Bukantas, Head of Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool, said: “The new Emerging Artist Prize offers the winner some invaluable opportunities. In addition to the prize money and art supplies, they are offered a residency and display at Colart along with some mentoring to support their career development. We hope that this Prize will provide the winner with the support and freedom to experiment with their work, potentially taking their practice in new and exciting directions.”

Visitors to the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 exhibition are also invited to vote for their favourite painting to win the popular Visitors’ Choice Award, sponsored by Rathbones. The winning artist will receive £2,020.

Named after its sponsoring founder Sir John Moores in 1957, the internationally-renowned Prize, organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, remains true to its founding principle: to support artists and to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK.

The John Moores Painting Prize has awarded almost £650,000 in prize money across 30 exhibitions, which have showcased more than 2,250 works of art. It presents a rich history of post-war painting in Britain. The first exhibition was held only six years after the Walker Art Gallery re-opened following the Second World War.

Past prize winners include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Lisa Milroy (1989), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010), Rose Wylie (2014), Michael Simpson (2016) and Jacqui Hallum (2018). Sir Peter Blake, winner of the competition’s then Junior Prize in 1961, is Patron of the Prize.

In addition to the £25,000 prize money, 2018 John Moores Painting Prize winner Jacqui Hallum was awarded a three-month Fellowship and studio residency at Liverpool School of Art & Design (Liverpool John Moores University). The resulting work is currently on show at the Walker Art Gallery in a solo display, which was also part of her prize. The view from the top of a pyramid: new work by Jacqui Hallum runs until 26 April 2020.

The call for entries for the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 runs from 17 February (12 noon) until 24 March (12 noon) 2020. To enter, artists should visit liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/johnmoores.

READ MORE: Hosted by National Museums Liverpool Celebrates Action-Packed Year with Record Filming Projects

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