Why is it called the ‘Turner Prize’?

The prize was founded by Tate’s Patrons of New Art. They wanted a name associated with great British art. They chose J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) partly because he had wanted to establish a prize for young artists. It also seemed appropriate to choose the name of an artist whose work was controversial in his own day. 

What is the prize awarded for?

The prize is awarded to a British artist or artist working in Britain aged under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the twelve months before 9 May 2006. 

Who chooses the shortlisted artists?

The four shortlisted artists, and the winner of the prize, are chosen by a jury which changes every year. It usually consists of a writer or critic, a curator or gallery director working in Britain, a curator or gallery director working outside Britain and a media professional. The Chairman is Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate. 

Does the public have a say?

The public are invited to nominate artists but the final decision is made by the jury. The jury considers the public nominations when they choose the shortlist, but they reserve the right to consider other artists. 

Who’s on this year’s jury?

This year the jury consists of:

Lynn Barber, writer, The Observer
Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery
Matthew Higgs, Director and Chief Curator, White Columns, New York
Andrew Renton, writer and Director of Curating, Goldsmiths College, University London
Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chairman of the Jury 

Who puts up the prize money?

This year the Turner Prize is sponsored by Gordon’s gin as part of a three-year partnership that began in 2004. Gordon’s gin increased the value of the Turner Prize to £40,000 since, with £25,000 being awarded to the winner and £5,000 each to the other shortlisted artists. 

What’s the purpose of the exhibition?

The exhibition is designed to enable the public to see and discuss the work of the shortlisted artists. The artists are nominated and judged on their contribution to British art over the previous twelve months.

Who chooses what goes in the exhibition?

The artists can choose to show any recent work in this exhibition. They make their selection in collaboration with curators from Tate Britain. This year’s curators are Gair Boase, Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Katharine Stout. 

What are the judges looking for?

The prize is not intended to honour an artist’s lifetime achievements. The aim is to celebrate younger talent and to focus attention on new developments in the visual arts. 

Why isn’t the exhibition at Tate Modern?

Tate Britain shows British art from the fifteenth century right up to the present day. There is always some contemporary art on show at Tate Britain, and since the Turner Prize is awarded to British artists, this seems to be the natural place for the exhibition. 

When will the winner be announced?

The jury meet to decide the winner on Monday 4 December 2006. The prize is awarded that evening in a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4 News.