Are Art Prizes Worth Winning?
19 October 2019
In a moment when art prizes seem to have reached saturation point, the question of their impact on an artist’s career is more pertinent than ever—are art prizes worth winning?
Professor Susan Best and Charles Robb will go head-to-head to debate the relevance, importance, and impact of art prizes.
How can art be judged? What kind of works are more likely to win? Are there biases at play? Does winning a prize set you up for a successful art career?
Best and Robb will duke it out, bringing their historical research, critical thinking, and wit together for a challenging and humorous debate on a hotly contested topic. Artist, prolific art prize finalist, and 2019 ‘the churchie’ patron Sam Cranstoun will chair the debate.
The Affirmative: Susan Best
Susan Best is Professor of Art History and Theory at Griffith University and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She is the author of Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde (2011) and Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing and Contemporary Art Photography (2016), both books won the Australian and New Zealand Art Association prize for best book. She is currently completing a book titled, Self, Other and the Impersonal: Body Art and Performance in Late Modern and Contemporary Art (contracted to Bloomsbury Philosophy)
The Negative: Charles Robb
Charles Robb is an artist and Lecturer in Visual Art at QUT, Brisbane. He has been a practising artist for more than two decades and his work has been seen in numerous group and solo exhibitions at venues including MONA (Hobart), the MCA (Sydney) and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia (Melbourne). Robb’s work explores the interplay between portraiture and incidental form explored through sculptural, digital and photographic media. His most recent body of work involved the production of a life-cast of the Ian Fairweather memorial rock at Bribie Island, Queensland.
Chair: Sam Cranstoun
Artist Sam Cranstoun lives and works in Brisbane. His practice traverses a variety of mediums, including collage, sculpture, watercolour and video, focusing on historical figures, events and images as a way of exploring how history is shaped and how we respond.
Cranstoun has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). His work is held in private and public collections including University of Queensland Art Museum and Queensland University of Technology Art Museum. Cranstoun has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize and ‘the churchie’ and selected exhibitions include GoMA Q, 2015, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, (Brisbane); Light Play, 2015, UQ Art Museum, (Brisbane); and Guarding the Home Front, 2015, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, (Liverpool NSW). Cranstoun is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane and Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne.