Turner Prize follows in Artes Mundi’s footsteps as Assemble win the 25K prize

Yesterday the Turner Prize was awarded to London-based architecture and design collective Assemble, whose practice crosses the borders between art, architecture, and community development.

Following the announcement, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz highlighted that Assemble’s win points to a growing trend within contemporary art that follows in the footsteps of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’s Artes Mundi 6 win, earlier this year. Gompertz points out:

“Assemble winning the Turner Prize last night points to a trend happening in the art world, which connects to Theaster Gates winning the Artes Mundi prize earlier in the year. Both are trading in the name of “art” to fulfil a community-based social enterprise.

They are leveraging the value we place on the word “art” and work artists produce, to enable them to raise the funds to do the regeneration work that motivates their activities.

Gates is trying to regenerate Chicago and Assemble are trying to do something similar in Toxteth.

Is it art? Does it matter? If somebody turning on and off lights can win the Turner Prize, why shouldn’t somebody trying to re-energise a neglected part of an inner city win?”

Theater Gates’s multi-faceted practice encompasses social activism, urban regeneration and community development in economically-deprived areas of South Side Chicago, St Louis and Omaha.  Known widely as The Poster Boy for Socially Engaged Art, Gates work has revolutionised contemporary art with what The New York Times has called his ‘circular economy’, in which Gates funds urban renewal through the sale of his artwork.

He was awarded the £40,000 Artes Mundi 6 Prize in January this year, the win attracted international media attention.

Will Gompertz spent some timing filming at Artes Mundi earlier this year, in a piece titled “Can Artes Mundi Top the Turner Prize?” (watch here).

The shortlist for Artes Mundi 7 was announced in October (see the full shortlist here). The prize show will run at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter Cardiff from 1st October 2016 to February 26th 2017. The winner of the £40,000 Artes Mundi prize will be announced in January 2017 at ceremony in Cardiff. The full shortlist for Artes Mundi 7 can be read here.

To read the BBC’s full report on this year’sTurner Prize here.


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