Preston's Harris Museum scoops £40,000 arts prize - Museums Association

Preston’s Harris Museum scoops £40,000 arts prize

Nathaniel Mellors to create work for Contemporary Art Society's Annual Award
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Simon Stephens
Preston's Harris Museum & Art Gallery and artist Nathaniel Mellors are celebrating winning the £40,000 Contemporary Art Society (CAS) Annual Award, which was announced last night.

The prize, which is supported by the Sfumato Foundation, will allow the artist to create a work that, once completed, will remain in the museum’s permanent collection.

Mellors is planning to make a work combining fiction, sculpture, performance and film. He will use the Grade II-listed Preston Bus Station as its focus as well as other locations in Preston.

“The bus station looks amazing and it is a really outstanding piece of brutalist architecture,” Mellors said. “The idea is that it can function as a kind out inside-out Tardis, being bigger on the outside than the inside.”

Mellors said he was particularly pleased to win the £40,000 prize as he has often felt his art is too challenging for a panel of judges to reach a consensus over.

“I am really chuffed,” Mellors said. “I have not worked with any museum in Britain outside London before and I am originally from Yorkshire. It is a brilliant opportunity to channel lots of stuff from my background.”

Mellors’ work will form the centrepiece of a 15-month exhibition on the themes of Samuel Beckett and The Theatre of the Absurd.

The three other projects shortlisted for the CAS Annual Award were the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, with Marvin Gaye Chetwynd; Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery with Martin Boyce; and Leeds Art Gallery with Becky Beasley.

The award, now in its sixth year, used to give a £60,000 prize, but this has been cut by £20,000.

A statement from the CAS said: “From analysis of five previous awards it was felt that £40,000 could achieve the same quality of projects as we have seen in previous years and the strength of this year’s shortlist suggests that this is the case.

"Having consulted with the Sfumato Foundation, the additional £20,000 will be channelled into an exciting new project that will be announced next year.”


Video: CAS Annual Award 2014 ceremony

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