Turner Prize Shortlist Leans In to Artists’ Identities

Claudette Johnson, a Black British visual artist who is experiencing a late-career renaissance, and Jasleen Kaur, an artist whose installations have explored her upbringing in a Scottish Sikh community, are among the nominees for this year’s Turner Prize, the prestigious British art award.

The four-person shortlist was announced on Wednesday at a news conference at the Tate Britain art museum in London. Each artist is nominated for an exhibition held in the past 12 months, and Tate Britain will host a group show of their work from Sept. 25 to Feb. 16, 2025.

Johnson, 65, whose portraits of Black women and men in pastels and watercolor are held in the collections of Tate and the Baltimore Museum of Art, is the highest-profile artist shortlisted.

Her career began in the 1980s as a member of the Blk Art Group, a British collective, but she stopped exhibiting for decades while she raised two children. In a 2023 interview with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Johnson described that period as a “long wilderness” in which the idea of becoming a successful artist was “beyond a dream.”

In recent years, Johnson has become an art-world fixture again, and the Turner Prize jury nominated her for solo exhibitions at the Courtauld Gallery, in London, and Ortuzar Projects, in New York.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Sam Thorne, a jury member who runs the Japan House cultural center in London, said that Johnson’s “vibrant” portraits were a “moving response to traditional representations of gender and Blackness in Western art history.”

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