Friday, July 13, 2018

John Moores Painting prize 2018 - winner announced

There's not a lot of press coverage for the winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 - and I have to say I'm not surprised.

Jacqui Hallum's painting King and Queens of Wands triumphed over 2,700 entries to win the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 in its 60th annoversary - which means she wins:
  • a £25,000 first prize, 
  • a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, 
  • plus an ‘in-focus’ solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

What do you say about a three cotton sheets stained and dyed with inks?
Not a lot if you are the Art Press it would seem...

This is what Jacqui Hallum had to say about her painting.

Bottom line - I've never understood the decisions of the John Moores Painting Prize and I'm none the wiser after this year's choice.

It always strikes me that what the artist thinks they've made and how the judges interpret the painting seem to be at odds quite often.

Listen to what the artist has to say in the video - and then read this....
The curator Jenni Lomax said Hallum’s painting emerged as the clear overall winner from the shortlist of five, which each receive £2,500. “There is something about the provisional and nomadic nature of the work that makes it feel very current,” she said. “At the same time an initial sense of lightness belies historical and personal references that collapse within its folds.” Jacqui Hallum wins John Moores painting prize | The Guardian
One is so very tempted to continue by constructing a sentence which uses the word "arty farty"  - but I won't.... I've got better things to do with my time.


  1. Well the one thing artist and curator have in common is that they're both using concepts and words so vague as to be meaningless. The 'speak' part of art-speak has simply floated away from coherence and meaning to such an extent that it's obscuring the 'art' altogether.

    As to whether the piece has any worth - hard to tell from this view of it, which makes it look like a selection of painting rags hung, casually, over a clothes-horse. Or like a sheet of burlap thrown over an old 'fridge. Perhaps the deeper meaning would reveal itself if one could see it in situ: and then again, what meaning of any kind lies in the Tarot? Perhaps my mistake is thinking there should be any meaning at all, but then both curator and artist, contradictorily, try to tell us that there is. Might have been an idea if they'd got together to discuss it.

    But why didn't I think of it? I've got a soiled sheet somewhere.

  2. Jacqui's overview of her work is in itself enlightening.

    'the space in between is a kind of reading..
    'at some point some of these suggest a coming together...
    'sometimes these elements might become..
    there isn't a definite version..'

    Is it any surprise that the resulting work might be
    unconceived,arbritary and frankly unresolved?

  3. Jacqui's overview of her work is in itself enlightening.

    'the space in between is a kind of reading..
    'at some point some of these suggest a coming together...
    'sometimes these elements might become..
    there isn't a definite version..'

    Is it any surprise that the resulting work would look unconceived,arbritary and frankly undeveloped?

  4. It seems that the curator, Jenni Lomax, should win a prize for creative writing.

  5. This is precisely the kind of artwork that gets attention and as an artist I struggle to understand. I struggle with it because I aspire to produce a work of skill, imagination and meaning that is clear to the viewer and a work of perceived value. If art is not something enduring that has a value to those who like to acquire it then I'm not sure what it is. There seems to be something so momentary, even random and of no worth long term in work like this and yet a significant prize is handed out to what is essentially some old dyed sheets strung on the wall like a temporary window covering while you assess what sort of curtains you might buy. What is happening in the world of art that great skill doesn't seem to count anymore while this does ? It is very discouraging for serious artists to see work like this encouraged and the endless dumbing down of art.

  6. I look at this way. If the artist wants to create something like this so be it.
    It is not my cup of tea but who I am to say that this is not art?. There are several art
    worlds that one can participate in. One is the so called "official " art world sanctioned
    by such tomes as Art in America, Art News and Art Forum. I am not sure what the British &
    Continental magazines would be. This art work is typical of what is touted by them. Then there is another art world grounded in more "traditional" approaches. There are probably as many artists in one camp as another. Artists choose which one they want to participate in. Each has its own set of expectations, rules and what is to be done in order to be involved. As an example of what is needed to enter the so called "official" art world would be obtaining an MFA. The more "prestigious" the university the more likely opportunities will be made available. These MFA degrees are far from inexpensive but the connections made can be very useful in navigating this art world. While an MFA can be of use in the other art world navigating that scene can be accomplished by other means. I guess one could argue endlessly about which one is the more valid but does it really matter? We choose what we want to create and the path to embark on. The final result is the work that is created and that is what is most important.


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