Thursday, September 14, 2017

£25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2018 - Call for Entries

The John Moores Painting Prize is celebrating its 60th anniversary and holding its 30th exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 2018.  The anniversary of this prestigious painting is being celebrated with two additional prizes for the first prizewinner (see below for further details).

During the last 60 years it has championed contemporary British painting for over two decades longer than any other art prize of similar size.
"[The John Moores Painting Prize is] the Oscar of the British painting world"
- Sir Norman Rosenthal, curator and former exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy.
Registration for the call for entries for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 opened today at 12 midday today, 14 September 2017.

Below is an overview of the call for entries and links to relevant webpages.

About the John Moores Painting Prize

This art competition is a PAINTING competition and is open to all UK-based artists working with paint. It culminates in an exhibition at the Walker Art Exhibition in Liverpool which is held at the same time as the Liverpool Biennial.

Its named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993) and was originally intended as a one-off!

It's now a biennial event and this will be the 30th exhibition in 60 years - since its launch in 1957.

You can view the previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize on the website (1980-2016 and 1957-1978) . They include:

The Walker Art Gallery has an ongoing display of a selection of previous winning works John Moores Prizewinners 1957 - 2006 and notes that
The exhibition has consistently helped to raise the profile of the artists and in particular to further the careers of its winners

Criteria for assessment - and how anonymity is maintained

The original aims of John Moores were:
'To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country'
'To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive'

Hence the competition aims to support artists who paint. There are two important criteria:
  • all entries are judged anonymously
  • to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK
and after that it's whatever the members of the jury care to place an emphasis on.

In terms of "anonymous entry and judging" this competition is much more thorough than most
  • all artists are allocated a unique entry number
  • jurors are not given the names of the artists 
  • jurors are only provided with information about the title, size and medium of the painting

The Jury

The Jury changes with every exhibition. They are selected and appointed by the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and National Museums Liverpool.

As usual I've looked up the profiles of the jury members for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 which are summarised below
  • Prof. Lubaina Himid MBEProfessor of Contemporary Art. School of Art, Design and Fashion at the University of Central Lancashire. She has been recognised for her services to Black Womens Art - see Making Histories Visible
  • Marvin Gaye Chetwynd - a performance artist given to changing her name. She trained as a painter at training as a painter at UCL's Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal College of Art and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012. See What do artists do all day
  • Jenni Lomax -  Ex-director of Camden Arts Centre (1990-July 2017) where she gave early shows to artists like Martin Creed and Yinka Shonibare. Awarded the Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007 and an OBE for her services to the Visual Arts in 2009. This is a Christies interview with her
  • Bruce McLean - a Scottish sculptor, performance artist and painter who studied at Glasgow School of Art and St. Martin's School of Art. He taught at numerous art schools including The Slade School of Fine Art, where he became Head of Graduate Painting (2002-2010). You can see his work here. In 1985, he won the John Moores Painting Prize.
  • Liu Xiaodong - a contemporary Chinese artist who studied at and graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He now has tenure as professor in the painting department at CAFA. You can see his work here


All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize.

The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.
  • First Prize - £25,000 plus an additional award (to mark the 60th year): 
    • a three month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University 
    • an in-focus solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

    • In addition, the prize is NOT a purchase prize, but the Walker Art Gallery may also purchase the painting which means another 'win' for the First Prizewinner.
  • four prizes for the other shortlisted artists of £2,500

There is also a Visitors’ Choice prize of £2,018, voted for by visitors to the exhibition at the Walker and awarded towards the end of the exhibition period.

Call for Entries

These are the Terms and Conditions and FAQS and Commercial Agreement on which I have based this summary. I do NOT warrant that I've covered every detail you might need to know - it's up to you to read all of these documents thoroughly and make sure you can comply with them when you send in your entry and painting.

Who can enter?

Artists who MUST
  • be aged 18 years or over on the day of registration
  • living or professionally based in the UK
I suggest if you're not sure whether your paintings are suitable for this exhibition you take a look at my blog posts at the end of this post which
  • list those artists shortlisted and selected for recent biennial exhibitions
  • with links to their websites and images of some of the shortlisted works

Eligible to exhibit

You can submit only one entry per artist.
Multiple entries under the same or under different names are not allowed. Artists found to have done this will be deemed in breach of the Prize’s conditions of entry and will have all their entries disqualified.

The painting MUST be
  • a new or recent work, preferably created since 1 January 2016.
  • wholly or partly executed in any painted medium.
  • designed to hang on or be fixed to a wall.
  • the original work of the artist (or artists if a joint or collaborative work). The competition terms and conditions are very precise as to what they mean
Undertakes that the work submitted is of their own origination, and that they hold all moral and intellectual property rights in that work. For example, if your work is closely based on the work of another artist, you must have obtained all the necessary copyright permissions and credit lines and paid any fees due before entering (registration and payment).
If shortlisted for Stage 2 the painting MUST be
  • the same work as that submitted as an image at Stage 1 
  • be available for Stage 2 of the competition and, if selected, for the duration of the exhibition itself.
In terms of dimensions the painting MUST be:
  • When packed for transport, must measure no more than 3m x 3.75m. 
  • When unpacked, must project no more than 0.5m from the wall. 
  • If made up of more than one piece, such as a diptych or triptych, must be no larger overall than 3m x 3.75m x 0.5m when displayed on a wall.

Entry Fee

  • £30 inclusive of VAT (non-refundable). Payment should be made online by debit/credit card via the John Moores Painting Prize webpage.

Timeline and Deadline for Entries

There are three main stages: Call for Entries, Stage 1 and Stage 2.  Registration and Submission of a digital image of the painting have the same deadline.

Call for Entries - registration and payment

  • This is the Registration Form for the 2018 Competition
  • Registration and payment of the fee online MUST be completed no later than 12 noon on Monday 13 November 2017
  • the unique entry number is only allocated to an artist once this stage has been completed

Stage 1 - Submission of Image

  • The first stage of selection is entirely based on the image submitted.
  • You must submit an image(s) of the work AND complete the online form - using the unique entry number - by the deadline of 12 noon on Monday 13 November 2017
    • Digital images of the submitted work must be JPEGS between 2MB - 5MB in size and a minimum of 1000 x 1000 pixels.
    • One image showing the complete painting must be submitted (A). An optional second image, showing a detail of the work, may be submitted (B).
    • The image(s) of the painting must not be manipulated in any way and must be of the painting entered. Substitutes cannot be accepted and will invalidate the entry.
  • The jury then views and discusses all the entries from the digital image submitted - and shortlists entries
  • Artists are notified as soon as possible after the Stage 1 selection about whether they have been selected for Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Delivery of shortlisted painting

  • Shortlisted artists are invited to transport their shortlisted painting to one of six depots around the UK 
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: the painting must be EXACTLY THE SAME - as the painting submitted via digital image. If it is different it will be disqualified
  • The exhibition organisers arrange the transport of paintings to Liverpool for judging. 
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: you are advised to arrange insurance
  • Each painting is viewed and discussed individually by the jurors who then select the works for the final exhibition. 
    • This process remains anonymous 
    • Jurors are not given the names of the artists but have access to the following information: title, size and medium. 
    • However, in addition and on request, they have access to the artists’ statements about their work (but not their biographical information).
  • Jurors also decide the prize-winners. 


If selected for the exhibition, agrees to the reproduction of their work or a detail of the work (at no fee) in association with the exhibition, including press, marketing, publicity, merchandise, catalogue and postcards and online (including the website and social media platforms).
  • all SELECTED paintings are subject to a commercial agreement
  • when you enter, you agree (as part of the Commercial Agreement) that IF YOUR PAINTING IS SELECTED YOU:
    • give the Licensee the right to manufacture and sell merchandise (in such forms as it chooses) representing the artwork within the retail outlets at National Museums Liverpool including its online store - subject to agreement to be faithful to the work. The artist agrees to waive any royalty rights for the duration of the period quoted in the agreement.
    • accept that if shortlisted the submitted artwork must be available for sale for the duration of the exhibition and that the Walker Art Gallery, if it requests to do so, is given first option to purchase that work.
    • accept that if selected for the exhibition any sale of the exhibited artwork during the exhibition period will be exclusively undertaken by the Licensee and must not be reserved for sale or sold by any other means.


There is a very comprensive, long and helpful page of FAQS on the website


John Moores 2018 will be a key strand of Liverpool Biennial’s 10th international festival which launches on 14 July 2018.

The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 Exhibition will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 18 November 2018.

Previous posts

I've not covered every exhibition or every stage of this competition. Below are the posts I have written in the past.
Plus a post prompted by the announcement of the artists selected for the 2010 exhibition - The Websites of Contemporary Painters in the UK - because virtually every selected artist had a website!  If you've not got one try taking a look at Websites for Artists on Art Business Info. for Artists

PS This is my 3,333rd blog post! :)

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