Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 1988

Turner Prize

Tony Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize 1988

Turner Prize

Turner Prize 1988 invitation

Turner Prize

Tony Cragg’s solo exhibition held at the Tate Gallery following his 1988 Turner Prize success

Unpublished Shortlist

  • Tony Cragg – winner
  • Lucian Freud – commended
  • Richard Hamilton – commended
  • Richard Long – commended
  • David Mach – commended
  • Boyd Webb – commended
  • Alison Wilding – commended
  • Richard Wilson – commended

Turner Prize is given a makeover

The appointment of a new Tate Director, Nicholas Serota, led to many changes such as the introduction of an annual rehang of the Collection and giving priority to modern and contemporary art. During this period the future of the Prize was uncertain. It was modified to be an artist-only prize without a published shortlist and a solo exhibition was awarded to the winner, Tony Cragg. This made it a less media-friendly event, which reduced its public appeal. Meanwhile, in a Docklands warehouse, the exhibition Freeze quietly launched the careers of a group of artists who would become celebrated as the Young British Artists (YBAs) in the 1990s.


  • Richard Cork, critic and art historian
  • Carmen Gimenez, Director of the National Exhibitions Centre, Ministry of Culture, Madrid
  • Henry Meyric-Hughes, Fine Arts Department, The British Council
  • Jill Ritblat, representative of the Patrons of New Art
  • Nicholas Serota, Director elect, Tate Gallery

Turner Prize 1988 in quotes

It was felt that the publication of a shortlist, including both well-known names and ‘un-knowns’ led to confusion about the scope of the prize, as well as making it difficult for the jury to award the prize to a younger artist without appearing to ‘snub’ a major figure like Bacon/Freud/Auerbach.
Nicholas Serota on the change in nominations, October 1988
There is a widespread feeling, which I tend to share, that the shortlist sets very disparate artists up in competition with each other, with rather invidious results.
Jury member Richard Cork, in a letter to the Director of the Tate Gallery, February 1988
To create greater dramatic impact for the moment when the 1988 winner was finally announced, no shortlist of contenders or token representation of artefacts was on offer … For my part, I suggest that those who cannot bear the suspense of being shortlisted should take up some less robust profession.
Giles Auty, the Spectator, December 1988

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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1 January – 31 December 1988

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