T he Sotheby’s Prize is unique in the world of exhibition prizes, in that it recognises an exhibition before it has opened, not after. In this way, the Prize aims to facilitate projects that could not happen otherwise; projects that are risky and innovative, the kind that might struggle to attract funding.
“There is no other prize which rewards an exhibition that is in preparation, rather than an exhibition that has already taken place. This represents a risk.”Sir Nicholas Serota
It is difficult to anticipate the impact of an exhibition before it has been staged. To do so requires the expertise and experience that come with years of organising exhibitions and running institutions. Accordingly, the Sotheby’s Prize jury comprises some of the most esteemed museum directors and curators, with a pedigree in developing and staging important and ground-breaking exhibitions.
The Sotheby’s Prize jurors hail from the UK, Europe and the US, and represent a range of interests, from Old Masters to cutting-edge contemporary art. Their work is truly international, from the traditionally-recognised art world hubs of Western Europe and North America to the lesser-known but equally important centres in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
“I think there is a younger generation of curator that’s really interested in opening up historical narratives of different kinds, looking globally at histories that we didn’t know.”Connie Butler
Jurors typically serve for a period of three years, although we hope that the founding jurors serve for longer, to ensure continuity during these early years.
A juror’s role is to assess each application, identify those for discussion during the annual jury meeting in September and, at that meeting, to decide on the winner. Jurors also acted as ambassadors for the Prize, spreading awareness and encouraging applications.