Elizabeth Price's video installation "The Woolworths Choir Of 1979" (2012)—Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
LONDON — Elizabeth Price was awarded the 2012 Turner Prize in a ceremony hosted this evening by actor Jude Law at Tate Britain. Upon receiving the award, the video artist – who was nominated for her exhibition “Here” earlier this year at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead – expressed her deep concerns over the coalition government’s proposal to scrap GCSE exams for an English Baccalaureate that does not include art as a core subject.
“It’s incredibly depressing that a young girl going to a comprehensive school in the autumn might not be able to imagine that she could be an artist, and might not have the opportunities I’ve had to fulfill that,” she said.
Her comment followed Law’s severe condemnation of the proposal, which he described as an act of “cultural vandalism.” “We are blunting our leading edge in the arts and jeopardizing the future of the UK creative industries,” he said. “Art education should be available to all. If we deprive a generation of cultural skills, we’ll lose a generation of cultural leaders, of artists, actors, designers, and of future Turner Prize winners.”
Price's contribution to the Turner Prize exhibition, The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (2012), is an exhilarating video blast, splicing ecclesiastic furniture, on-screen explanations of little-known architectural terms, hand-clapping noises, grainy girl band videos, loud beats, and news footage of a Manchester fire in 1979.
She is the first video artist to win the £25,000 award (just over $40,000) in more than a decade. The other shortlisted artists were Paul Noble, Luke Fowler, and Spartacus Chetwynd.