No that’s not what people are asking regarding our fused glass art. That’s the question that is asked every year in relation to the Turner Prize and has never been more relevant with the reveal of this year’s winner. Assemble are a direct action collective and the first “non-artists” to win the UK’s most prestigious prize with their urban regeneration project.
Describing themselves as “sort of architects, sort of not, sort of maybe,” the group were nominated for their work tackling dereliction in Toxteth, Liverpool. Assemble’s aim was to improve houses and the lives of residents in the area through art and design. Judges praised what they called “a ground-up approach to regeneration, city planning and development in opposition to corporate gentrification”.
But the art community has been left wondering, “is this art?” Certainly the project is noble and worthwhile but some artists were frustrated that on the one night of the year that is dedicated to bringing a wider audience to a visual artist’s work, a group of architects and “non-artists” walked away with the prize.
Since its inception in 1984, the Turner prize has been the UK’s most publicised art award and is open to any British visual artist under the age of 50. It is named after celebrated English painter J. M. W. Turner, who is regarded as elevating landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. He is one of the greatest British watercolour landscape painters as well as being renowned for his oil paintings. He was known for being quite controversial in his day which is reflective in some of the past Turner prize winners and nominees such as Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst.
A little like J. M. W. Turner, we love creating beautiful landscape pieces, although rather than watercolour or oil paintings we work in the medium of fused glass art! Maybe next year we should submit some of our work for consideration?