Oxford art project wins £60,000 commission | University of Oxford

Oxford art project wins £60,000 commission

Turner Prize-winning artist Elizabeth Price has been awarded a £60,000 commission to create a new work exploring the collections of the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums.

The Oxford University-based project has won this year's Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums – one of the UK's highest-value contemporary art prizes.

The proposal was made by the Ashmolean Museum in conjunction with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. It was one of four to be shortlisted for the award.

Ms Price will now create a single-screen video work that will focus on depictions of the female figure in the two museums. It will form part of the Ashmolean's permanent collection.

Ms Price said: 'I'm so happy to win this prize. The very generous commission budget will enable me to make an artwork that would otherwise be impossible to realise.

'I'm particularly excited about the unique opportunity to work with the collections and the people at the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums in Oxford. It is an unprecedented opportunity for me.'

The winner of the 2012 Turner Prize, Ms Price was born in Bradford and received a BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in 1988. She has recently returned to Oxford to take up a permanent University lectureship.

Professor Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, said: 'The Ashmolean is profoundly grateful to the Contemporary Art Society for this award. It gives us a rare and unique opportunity to work with our colleagues at the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, and an acclaimed contemporary artist on a new and challenging project.

'The collaboration will allow Elizabeth Price to work with the museums, the collections and the rich archives of Oxford, and we are very excited by the work of art which the project will create.'

The judging panel for this year's Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums comprised artist Brian Griffiths, arts journalist Charlotte Higgins, gallery director Elizabeth Neilson and curator Kirsty Ogg.

Ms Higgins said: 'When Elizabeth Price presented her project for Oxford it immediately became clear that she was on her way to producing a thrilling artwork that will dig deep into the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers' archives and ask some characteristically penetrating questions of the way we think about and record the past.

'The panel was excited by the intellectual sparks that will be fired by Elizabeth's presence in the museums, and the curatorial, research and teaching possibilities that will flow from the work.

'Price is an artist who is working at the peak of her powers, but is still underrepresented in British institutions. It's fitting that the museums of the city where she studied and now teaches should be together committed to correcting this. Above all, though, the panel just can’t wait to see what she makes.'