News item from 2013
Ashmolean project wins Contemporary Art Society Award
Artist Elizabeth Price has won this year's Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums, in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art. The Turner Prize-winning artist will now create a single-screen video work that will focus on depictions of the female figure in the two museums. It will form part of the Ashmolean's permanent collection.
Now in its fifth year, the prestigious £60,000 prize is one of the highest value contemporary art awards in the country and was presented this year by Mark Wallinger in a ceremony at the Dairy Art Centre in London on 18 November attended by artists, curators, collectors and other art world VIPs.
Price's commission will explore the archives and collections of the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, looking particularly at photographs of artefacts and documents used historically by curators, anthropologists and archaeologists working in the field, while simultaneously engaging with the social and psychological implications of digital technologies.
The commission, comprising a single-screen video, will present and narrate artefacts from the Ashmolean's collection, with a focus on the female figure and the photographic and archival means of disclosing this figure over time.
Elizabeth Price said: "I'm so happy to win this prize. The very generous commission budget will enable me to make an artwork that would be otherwise impossible to realise. I'm particularly excited about the unique opportunity to work with the collections, and the people at the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums in Oxford. It is an unprecedented opportunity for me."
The winner of the 2012 Turner Prize, Ms Price was born in Bradford and received a BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in 1988. She has recently returned to Oxford to take up a permanent University lectureship.
Professor Christopher Brown CBE, Director of the Ashmolean, said: “The Ashmolean is profoundly grateful to the Contemporary Art Society for this award. It gives us a rare and unique opportunity to work with our colleagues at the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Ruskin School of Art, and an acclaimed contemporary artist on a new and challenging project. The collaboration will allow Elizabeth Price to work with the museums, the collections, and the rich archives of Oxford; and we are very excited by the work of art which the project will create.”
The judging panel for this year's Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums comprised artist Brian Griffiths, arts journalist Charlotte Higgins, gallery director Elizabeth Neilson and curator Kirsty Ogg.
Charlotte Higgins said: “When Elizabeth Price presented her project for Oxford it immediately became clear that she was on her way to producing a thrilling artwork that will dig deep into the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers's archives and ask some characteristically penetrating questions of the way we think about and record the past. The panel was excited by the intellectual sparks that will be fired by Elizabeth's presence in the museums, and the curatorial, research and teaching possibilities that will flow from the work. Price is an artist who is working at the peak of her powers, but is still underrepresented in British institutions. It's fitting that the museums of the city where she studied and now teaches should be together committed to correcting this. Above all, though, the panel just can't wait to see what she makes.”
Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said: "We are thrilled that Elizabeth Price has won this year's Contemporary Art Society Annual Award in conjunction with the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers and the Ruskin. Her commission will respond directly to the long and rich history of the Ashmolean's collection to produce a hugely significant new work - the first ever moving image work by a living artist to be acquired by the institution."
- Watch highlights of the 2013 Annual Award
- Watch our proposal video on Vimeo
- View this story on the CAS website