An art award is a recognition of appreciation for an artist's work. Art prizes, awards, bring attention to art and put the laureates in the spotlight. For the artist, winning an award can mean a boost to his or her career or at least the proverbial backing. There are some 43 visual arts awards in the Netherlands. The process of nominations, jury choices and awarding of the prizes usually proceeds steadily. Through a press release, the jury members are announced, later possibly the long list, followed by the short list and finally the announcement of the laure(a)at(s).

Sometimes there is extra commotion around a prize, usually with the 'more important' prizes. For example, when the winner comes from an unexpected quarter, as we saw in December at the announcement of the (British) Turner Prize when it appeared that the young collective Assemble had won the prize of 25,000 British pounds. Was this actually visual art and had the jury not overlooked a number of important artists, one wondered.

We also have a renowned international art prize in the Netherlands: The Vincent Award, or The Vincent Van Gogh Biennial Award for Contemporary Art in Europe. A major international contemporary art prize awarded biennially to a mid-career artist working or living in Europe who has made a significant impact on the development of international visual art.

Since 2014, Gemeentemuseum The Hague has hosted The Vincent Award.
A year earlier, around an exhibition at the same museum, a now high-stakes conflict arose between visual artist Thanh Vo and collector Bert Kreuk. At issue was a commission from Kreuk to Vo for a new work that Kreuk would show at the Gemeentemuseum in an exhibition of his collection. Several years later, this conflict recently led Nairy Baghramian to decline her nomination for The Vincent Award. Subsequently, David Maljkovic also declined his nomination - being nominated instead of Baghramian (you can read more about this conflict in the BK Information dated Jan. 29, 2016).

Refusal of the nomination is a gesture of solidarity to the artist in conflict and perhaps of condemnation of the power of the establishment. But refusing a nomination for a €50,000 prize is more than a gesture. In addition to a lot of money, the prize provides recognition of appreciation for the artist's work. Refusing a nomination is also a luxury not everyone can or wants to afford.
The level of The Vincent Award goes along with nominees who may have passed the need for recognition of the appreciation of their work. One could say that the acceptance of a nomination for a major art award by an internationally renowned artist involves recognition of the appreciation of the award.

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