This morning I went to a secret location to see the judging panel deliberate over the short-listed paintings for the John Moores Prize. They have the very difficult task of selecting 60 or so works from the 268 and then also choosing the prize-winners.
It was fascinating to watch the process for a few minutes. There was a huge body of art handlers, a couple of them carry out one of the canvases and someone would shout out the code for the work (at this stage the judges still don’t know who the artists are).
The judges, Tracey Emin, Sir Peter Blake and a former John Moores prizewinner Jason Brooks along with the British Council’s director of visual arts Andrea Rose and curator of fine art at the Walker Art Gallery, Ann Bukantas would have a quick discussion, maybe even a heated debate, then vote, someone shouts ‘Next’ and along comes the next one. Julian Treuherz, keeper of Liverpool galleries acts as a sort of Chairperson.
Meanwhile backstage the handlers are rushing around stacking paintings away, making sure they go in either the ‘chosen’ area or the ‘not chosen’ area and getting the next ones ready to be judged. I wish I could be there to watch the judges debate who should win first prize. I’ll have to wait till it opens on Sept 16. to find out the result.
The often quirky and always unpredictable exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery – an integral part of the Liverpool Biennial 2006 – is an open submission competition available to all UK-based artists working with paint. All entries are judged anonymously.
In addition to an outright first prize of £25,000 there will be four prizes of £2,500 each.
The £1,000 ‘visitors’ choice’ prize, which proved very popular and provoked great debate during the 2004 exhibition, makes a welcome return.