Battle of arts world: Artes Mundi vs. Turner prize

The UK’s largest art prize, Artes Mundi, is set to go head-to-head with the country’s most notorious art event, the Turner Prize.

From next year, the international Cardiff-based biennial exhibition will move from spring to the autumn, which is when the world famous Turner Prize is held at Tate Britain.

The Turner Prize has drawn a lot of criticism over the years with former Pontypridd MP and Culture Minister Kim Howells famously describing exhibits as “conceptual b—-hit.”

And with two other popular visual arts events – London’s Frieze Art Fair and the Liverpool Biennial – also taking place at the same time, it’s hoped that new audiences will take the opportunity to visit the Artes Mundi prize too.

It is one of many changes which are being made to Artes Mundi, which were recently announced.

New space

The 2012 exhibition, which will be one of the first major events to be held in Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales’ new contemporary art space, will also see a new partnership formed with Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno.

And while the winner will still receive a £40,000 prize – the largest award of its kind in the UK – all other short-listed artists will be rewarded for the first time when they walk away with £4,000.

Now nominations are being sought for the 2012 prize.

Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi’s new chief executive and artistic director, says: “By moving Artes Mundi 5 to the autumn, it will join a group of headline events in the international visual arts calendar that also take place in the UK during that season, including the Turner Prize, Frieze Art Fair and Liverpool Biennial.

“This is the appropriate context in which Artes Mundi will celebrate its 10th anniversary.”

Artes Mundi 5

Artes Mundi 5 will open in September 2012 and run for three months.

The exhibition will be installed in almost 800 square metres of new contemporary art galleries, to be known as the National Museum of Art, at National Museum Cardiff.

Borthwick, who’s just taken over the post from Artes Mundi founding chief executive Tessa Jackson, says: “The National Museum of Art has created exceptionally beautiful spaces that sensitively combine a white cube aesthetic with the building’s various architectural histories.

“This is a clear statement of the role of contemporary art in the museum’s vision and Artes Mundi is proud that the positive audience reaction to its first four exhibitions has contributed so much to the development of that vision…”