The role of the art institution is constantly evolving. Through immersive, interactive and audience-led environments, contemporary galleries respond to an increasingly wide range of visitors and artworks. For example, Tate Modern’s recent Hyundai Commission, SUPERFLEX’s One Two Three Swing!, opened at the Turbine Hall in October. The site-specific piece encourages viewers to participate, inviting collective action whilst redefining traditional expectations of the exhibition space.
Applications for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year are now open. The initiative seeks out innovation, celebrating outstanding achievement in galleries across the UK by foregrounding imaginative shows, inspirational learning programmes or exceptional acquisitions. The award is looking for centres that champion engagement, have diversity and access initiatives or have undergone redevelopments. As Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund and Chair of 2018’s judging panel, emphasises: “These platforms are engines of cultural development in this country: centres of innovation, pioneering new ways of engaging with the public, and encouraging more people to understand and enjoy the cultures of the UK.” The 2018 judging panel includes Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; Rebecca Jones, BBC arts correspondent; Melanie Manchot, artist; and Monisha Shah, independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee.
As biggest prize of its kind in the world, Art Fund Museum of the Year offers £140,000 prize money. The winning museum is announced at the V&A, London, which received the prize in 2016. Other previous winners include The Hepworth Wakefield; The Whitworth, Manchester and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. The achievement has a profound and transformative effect, as Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, notes: “The impact of winning has delivered even greater audience growth this year as the broad media exposure introduced the gallery to new people and convinced those who have long been meaning to visit to finally make the trip.”
The ceremony takes place 5 July. Deadline for applications: 6 February.
Find out more: www.artfund.org.
1. The Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery, David Chipperfield Architects. Image © Iwan Baan.