Coronavirus: Bursaries up for grabs after Turner Prize cancelled

Running awards exhibition 'impossible in the current circumstances', organisers say

A view of Tate Britain, in London, as the Tate said all four of its galleries - the Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London, the Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives - will be closed from March 17 through to May 1, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus pandemic made its mark on the art world on Tuesday, when organisers of the UK’s prestigious Turner Prize said they would not be able to stage this year’s exhibition.

The outbreak has claimed another internationally recognised event, but 10 artists selected by the judges will receive bursaries of £10,000 (Dh45,000), organisers said.

The Turner Prize, one of the most highly sought-after arts awards in the UK, joins a long list of events around the world that have been postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic.

Usually, the prize includes a gallery exhibition of shortlisted artists, who each get £5,000, with the overall winner receiving £25,000.

But Tate Britain, the London gallery behind the prize, said there was no chance they could stage an exhibition amid the pandemic.

“The practicalities of organising a Turner Prize exhibition are impossible in the current circumstances, so we have decided to help support more artists during this exceptionally difficult time,” said Tate Britain director and Turner Prize jury chairman Alex Farquharson.

“Gallery closures and social distancing measures are vitally important, but they are also causing huge disruption to the lives and livelihoods of artists,” he added.

Usually, a shortlist is announced in May and the winner is named in early December.

"It's become increasingly clear this year that it would be impossible to prepare that kind of exhibition from scratch under the current circumstances, so we wanted to find another way to support artists and celebrate their work this year," a Tate spokesman told The National.

Judges normally spend the previous 12 months selecting the shortlist and much of that work had already been done before the UK went into lockdown.

The 10 artists will be announced in late June.