Since it was set up in 1984, the Turner Prize has become one of the best-known visual arts prizes. Each year, four artists are shortlisted, and the prize awarded for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the preceding year.
So what are the essential things to know about this fixture of the art world calendar?
The Turner Prize is in its thirties
The prize was first awarded in 1984. It was founded by a group called the Patrons of New Art who had been formed in 1982 to encourage wider interest in contemporary art and assist the (then) Tate Gallery in acquiring new works.
It’s given to ‘a British artist’
‘British’ can mean an artist working primarily in Britain or an artist born in Britain working anywhere.
Winners of the Turner Prize
The prize is now awarded to include the Turner Prize exhibition
Up until 2016 the prize was awarded purely on the exhibition or presentation the artist was nominated for, and did not include the Turner Prize exhibition itself. The artists can choose to show any recent work and they make their selection in collaboration with curators from Tate Britain.
There is an independent panel of judges each year
Every year a new panel is selected, thought it is always chaired by the Director of Tate Britain.
It’s named after J.M.W. Turner
When choosing the name for the prize, the founders chose nineteenth-century artist J.M.W. Turner as a figure who had been innovative and controversial in his own day but also gone on to be seen as one of the greatest British artists. Turner had also wanted to establish a prize for young artists himself.
The Turner Prize award is £40,000
£25,000 goes to the winner and £5,000 each goes to the other shortlisted artists.
‘It’s amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw’.
Damien Hirst’s acceptance speech in 1995
It’s often presented by a celebrity
Previous presenters have included Richard Attenborough, Paul Smith, Yoko Ono, Mario Testino and Madonna.
The Turner Prize provokes debate about art
By championing the early career of British artists, the Turner Prize has played a large part in the growing public interest in contemporary art in the UK. It is one of the best known awards for the visual arts in the world.
The prize has no age limit
To begin with, the prize could be awarded to anyone working in the arts (including curators, critics or gallery directors) for the ‘greatest contribution’ to art. But in 1988 this changed and the prize was awarded to artists only. Since 1991, when an age limit of 50 was introduced, the Turner Prize has been committed to showing new developments in contemporary British art and has played an important role in introducing the work of emerging artists to the public. In 2017 it was announced that artists of any age will be eligible to be shortlisted for the Prize, acknowledging the fact that artists can experience a breakthrough in their work at any age.
‘I think the art world had more trouble coming to terms with me being a potter than my choice of frocks’.
Grayson Perry’s Prize acceptance speech in 2003
The exhibition travels every other year
The first exhibition outside of London was at Tate Liverpool in 2007. It has since taken place at BALTIC in Gateshead (2011), and Ebrington in Derry-Londonderry (2013).
Find out more
Tate Director Nicholas Serota and the Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones consider its legacy
Journalist, broadcaster and Tate Member Miranda Sawyer shares her memories of the Prize’s history
Broadcaster and journalist Tom Morton asks what the event can tell us about art in Britain
TURNER PRIZE YEAR BY YEAR
Discover the work of 2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten and the other three artists shortlisted
The Turner Prize 2015 was awarded to Assemble. The £25,000 prize was presented by artist, musician and songwriter, Kim Gordon during a live broadcast on Channel 4
Celebrating its 30th year, the winner of the Turner Prize 2014 was Duncan Campbell. The award was presented by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor
The Turner Prize 2013 was awarded to Laure Prouvost
This year's prize was awarded to Elizabeth Price. The prize was presented by Jude Law
The Turner Prize 2011 was awarded to Martin Boyce by photographer Mario Testino. This was the first Prize to be presented outside of Tate
The Turner Prize 2010 was awarded to Susan Philipsz and the prize was presented by Miuccia Prada
The winner of the Turner Prize 2009 was Richard Wright. Poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy presented the artist with the £25,000 prize
The winner of the Turner Prize 2008 was Mark Leckey. Nick Cave presented the artist with the £25,000 prize
The Turner Prize 2007 has been awarded to Mark Wallinger and was presented to the artist by Dennis Hopper
The Turner Prize 2006 was awarded to Tomma Abts at Tate Britain on 4 December 2006. The £25,000 prize was presented by Yoko Ono
The Turner Prize 2005 was awarded to Simon Starling. Culture Minister David Lammy presented the artist with the £25,000 prize
The Turner Prize 2004 was awarded to Jeremy Deller
The Turner Prize 2003 was awarded to Grayson Perry. The £20,000 prize was presented by the artist Sir Peter Blake
The Turner Prize 2002 was awarded to Keith Tyson
The Turner Prize 2001 was awarded to Martin Creed. The £20,000 prize was presented to the artist by Madonna
Wolfgang Tillmans has been awarded the Turner Prize 2000. The £20,000 prize was presented to the artist by the fashion designer Paul Smith
Steve McQueen was awarded the Turner Prize 1999 and he recieved the £20,000 prize on 30 November
The Turner Prize 1998 was awarded to Chris Ofili
Gillian Wearing was the winner of the Turner Prize 1997
Douglas Gordon won the Turner Prize 1996. It was the first time the prize was awarded to an artist working with video
Damien Hirst won the Turner Prize 1995
Antony Gormley won the Turner Prize 1994
Rachel Whiteread was the winner of the Turner Prize 1993
Grenville Davey was the winner of the Turner Prize 1992
The Turner Prize 1991 was awarded to Anish Kapoor
The Turner Prize was suspended this year
Richard Long was awarded the Turner Prize 1989
Tony Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize 1988
Richard Deacon received the Turner Prize 1987
Gilbert & George won the Turner Prize 1986
Howard Hodgkin was the winner of the Turner Prize 1985
Malcolm Morley was the winner of the first Turner Prize, held in 1984