Martin Boyce wins 2011 Turner Prize

Martin Boyce at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art on Monday with his work, “Do Words Gave Voices,” for which he won the Turner Prize. Image by Nigel Roddis/Reuters.

Martin Boyce, forty-four, an artist known for creating sculptural installations that pay homage to Modernist design, has won the prestigious 2011 Turner Prize. The forty-thousand-dollar award was presented by Mario Testino at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England. Charlotte Higgins of The Guardian quotes the judges as praising Boyce’s work for “opening up of a new sense of poetry.” Other artists who were short-listed for the prize include George Shaw, forty-four, Karla Black, thirty-eight, and Hilary Lloyd, forty-six. Boyce graduated from the Glasgow School of Art’s environmental art program, exhibited at Tate Britain in 2006, and represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2009.

The winning entry from Mr. Boyce, 44, was an installation that looks like both an interior space and a municipal park, with trees crafted of geometric aluminum leaves along with a desk, based on a library table by the French modernist designer Jean Prouvé. The desk has letters scratched into its surface, as though they were the carvings of a naughty school child.

Mr. Boyce beat out the installation sculptor Karla Black, the video artist Hilary Lloyd and the painter George Shaw. The five-person jury, led by Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain, said “his work uses his knowledge of historic design to create distinctive sculptural installations.’’ The prize, which was established in 1984 and named after the 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, is given annually to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the 12 months before April 4, 2011. The winner gets £25,000 (about $39,000). Previous winners have included Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Mark Wallinger.

This year’s announcement was made at a televised ceremony Monday evening that was held at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, in northern England. The exhibition and ceremony, generally held at the Tate Britain, have been held outside of London once before, at the Tate Liverpool in 2007.


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