Seaside town that inspired Turner to host Turner Prize

Damien Hirst’s severed cows in formaldehyde won it in 1995 and Tracey Emin’s unmade bed made the shortlist in 1999.

Now it has been announced that the winner of the controversial Turner Prize for contemporary visual art in 2019 will be revealed at Turner Contemporary in Margate.

Established in 1984, the Turner Prize is awarded annually to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation given in the preceding year. It is named after J.M.W Turner, a 19th century artist seen by his contemporaries as controversial but who has gone on to become one of Britain’s most celebrated landscape painters.

The winner of the Turner Prize is announced every other year at a venue outside London. The decision to host the award in Margate is made even more meaningful by virtue of J.M.W. Turner’s association with the seaside town.

After first visiting Margate aged 11, Turner returned on several occasions to sketch and paint the sea, skies and coast that inspired him. Turner Contemporary was built on the site of the boarding house where Turner stayed on his visits.

Since opening in 2011, the gallery has welcomed over 2.3 million visitors. At first the local community greeted the gallery with cynicism but it has since been credited with revitalising the surrounding area into which it has poured almost £50 million.

Gallery Director, Victoria Pomery, said that the chance to host the Turner prize was a “a truly transformative opportunity to be part of something which invites conversations on an international scale”.

Last year’s Turner Prize was awarded to sculptor Helen Marten who also scooped the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. This year it was announced that the previous age limit of 50 years has been removed and that an artist of any age is eligible to be shortlisted.

The 2017 winner will be announced on 5 December at the Ferens Gallery in Hull.

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