Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 1997

Turner Prize 1997

Gillian Wearing was the winner of the Turner Prize 1997


All-female shortlist takes Turner by surprise

The first all-female shortlist in the Prize’s history drew accusations of political correctness as it seemed an obvious reaction to the previous year’s all-male shortlist. However, it was generally considered a justified reflection of the growing visibility and strength of work by women artists in the UK, and highlighted their under representation to date. The Royal Academy’s exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection ran almost concurrently with the Turner Prize helping to lend weight and institutional validation to the idea of a Young British Artist movement.


  • Penelope Curtis, curator, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
  • Lars Nittve, Director of the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark
  • Marina Vaizey, writer, art critic and lecturer
  • Jack Wendler, representative of the Patrons of New Art
  • Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate Gallery

Turner Prize 1997 in quotes

It’s hardly surprising that it is all-women. There are a lot of artists around. When I was trying to think of who would be on the shortlist I kept coming up with women.
Cornelia Parker as quoted in The Guardian, June 1997

Maybe you have to go to the extremes to even out the inequalities of the past.
Christine Borland as quoted in The Guardian, 1997

The remarkable thing about this year’s Turner Prize … was not that all four finalists were women. It was that the selection of an all-female shortlist caused little surprise. Only a few years ago, women who were artists were noteworthy for their absence here.
Alan Riding, The New York Times, December 1997 

Such is the wealth of “girl power” in British art today that there could have been several other equally worthy Turner shortlists entirely made up of women.
Louisa Buck, The Express, June 1997

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


29 October 1997 – 18 January 1998

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