Turner Prize in turmoil as last year's winner Long exhibits at the Tate

Serota seeks new sponsor for embattled competition


Richard Long is making three new sculptures for exhibition following the award of last year’s Turner prize, to be held at the Tate Gallery from 3 October to 6 January 1991.

Their installation in the three Duveen galleries which form the museum’s spine marks the first major change to the collection’s display since director Nicholas Serota unveiled his new hang at the beginning of the year, and it indicates the commitment which he was prepared to give to the prize itself.

How ironic it is, then, that the prize is in suspension as a result of the withdrawal of the sponsors, the bankrupted American securities house Drexel Burnham Lambert, and will not be awarded this year. Long’s works are an eighteen metre long slate line; a circle of magpie flint in the Rotunda, and a white mind line on the gallery’s dark terrazzo floor.

Will Serota persevere with the Turner Prize? Ever since it was founded by Alan Bowness and the Patrons of New Art in 1984, its good intentions have been overshadowed by controversy and disagreement. Minor adjustments, such as the removal of an artists’ short list, have failed to defuse criticism. He must have been tempted to let the prize lapse entirely, but if he can secure fresh sponsorship which is not tainted by business associations and which guarantees extensive media coverage, he will relaunch it in 1991.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Long lines at Tate from last Turner winner?'