Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 1985

Turner Prize

Howard Hodgkin was the winner of the Turner Prize 1985

Howard Hodgkin receiving the Turner Prize from Sir Richard Attenborough, 1985

Howard Hodgkin receiving the Turner Prize from Sir Richard Attenborough, 1985

Turner Prize 1985 Invitation

Turner Prize 1985 Invitation


  • Terry Atkinson – nominated
  • Tony Cragg – nominated
  • Ian Hamilton Finlay – nominated
  • Milena Kalinovska – nominated
  • Howard Hodgkin – winner
  • John Walker – nominated

Turner Prize creates media jamboree

In its second year the Prize built upon the success of its launch, yet opinions were divided over whether or not the format created a demeaning media spectacle. For the first time an arts professional was nominated alongside artists, which in later years attracted criticism. A wide range of contemporary practice was represented, from concept-based art to new forms of painting and sculpture. Awarding the prize to Howard Hodgkin earned approval from all quarters. In the same year the prolific art buyer Charles Saatchi opened a gallery for his collection in a former paint factory, revolutionising the way contemporary art was shown in London.


  • Max Gordon (architect, patron of new art)
  • Mark Francis (Director, the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh)
  • Lynne Cooke (Lecturer in History of Art, UCL)
  • Kynaston McShine (Senior Curator, MoMA, New York)
  • Alan Bowness

Turner Prize 1985 in quotes

Whether the publicity attendant on such jamborees as the Turner Prize confirms most of us in the view of art as a freak show, or whether it stimulates more of us to go and have a look for ourselves is a moot point.
Marina Vaizey, the Sunday Times, November 1985
We plan to continue as before, and were very pleased at the public attention that had been attracted to new art. Of course doing anything of this kind invites criticism and controversy, but we think the operation is nevertheless a most worthwhile one.
Alan Bowness, Director, Tate Gallery, December 1984

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12 November 1985

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