Organized by distinguished important museums, foundations, corporations or philanthropist entities, contemporary art awards and art prizes celebrate and highlight outstanding new talent and can act as trend setters in the industry. They often come with grants, fellowships and exhibitions offering great opportunities for artists to promote and fund their work. Below is a selection of the most prestigious and well known international art awards and art prizes including various fields of the creative practice: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, digital art and illustration.
Future Generation Art Prize
One of the most renowned biannual visual art awards, the Future Generation Art Prize brings together the best of the art world, promoting the young generation of artists. One of the most renowned art awards dedicated to young talents, it is open to artists around the world aged 35 and younger, who work in any medium. Their patron artists are Andreas Gursky, Jeff Koons, Damian Hirst and Takashi Murakami.
Launched in 2007 the Aesthetica Art Prize is open to works in any genre, and on any theme, however, with a particular interest in works that reflect upon an ever changing world. International established and emerging practitioners are welcome to submit their work. The prize involves an exhibition als well as a publication, presenting longlisted and shortlisted works from March to August in York, UK. Both Main and Emerging prize winners are awarded at the Private View, given £5000 and £1000 respectively, amongst other accolades. Winning pieces have reflected upon both social and political structures, questioning the values that are placed on the planet and each other. They have pushed the boundaries of form and technique, providing a new set of possibilities and ideas.
Established by the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize is awarded every other year to an artist, or group of artists, working in any medium, anywhere in the world. One of the most renowned global art awards, it honors outstanding achievement in contemporary art and artists whose practices are among the most innovative and influential of our time.
Established in 1997 by The Photographers’ Gallery in London, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is among the most renowned photography arts awards. It is awarded annually to a living artist of any nationality who has made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe in the previous year. The Prize is at £ 30 000 and includes an exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery London – having established itself as one of the most eminent awards of the medium, it highlights significant trends of contemporary photography and artists shaping the current scene.
Established by the Victoria and Albert Museum, Jameel Prize is an international art award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Exploring the relationship between Islamic traditions of art, craft and design and contemporary arts work, it takes part in the wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today. Nominees are working in fields as diverse as fashion, multi-media installation, and painting.
In 2008, the Pictet Group, a Swiss banking company, founded the Prix Pictet, which offers CHF 100,000 to photographers who address issues related to sustainability and environmentalism in their work. Benoit Aquin, Nadav Kander, Mitch Epstein, and Luc Delahaye are among the award’s past recipients. The prize has two components—an award and “the Commission,” in which a nominated photographer travels to a region where the bank is supporting a sustainability project and creates a portfolio around that project.
Open to artists worldwide, this digital art competition is organized by Lumen Art Projects Ltd, a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to providing new opportunities for digital artists around the world. The contest guidelines are relatively loose—the only requirement is that the submitted artworks must engage with technology. Categories include Still, Moving Image, XR, 3D/Interactive and Artificial Intelligence. Finalists are also eligible for the People’s Choice Award and the Lumen Gold award and all women finalists are eligible for the Rapoport Award for Women in Art and Technology.
Open to artists worldwide it’s the best known and most acclaimed award for illustrators. Creative talents are invited to submit work created or published since January 2018 to 8 different categories. Winners will not only win a cash prize, but they’ll also be awarded invaluable global exposure, such as a marketing package in the Directory of Illustration, a feature in a major exhibition in central London, and an invitation to the Awards Evening – an event on every illustration agency and publisher’s calendar.
Sponsored by ING Commercial Banking, the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. The uniqueness of having each work chosen by an eminent individual, unlike in a group selected show, has earned the Exhibition an excellent reputation among art lovers and collectors alike. The charm of the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition lies in the unpredictability and variety of the selectors’ choices. Works of lesser-known artists hang alongside those of more established ones helping to connect hundreds of new artists with new audiences.
Celebrating excellence in contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Prize is awarded by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. It has a purse of $100,000, and has been awarded every April since 2015. Theaster Gates and Doris Salcedo have won in past years.
Open to all artists worldwide, the FLAG Art Foundation Prize has two components. It includes $200,000 in cash, and it also comes with $600,000 to be put toward a catalogue and a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Austin and the FLAG Art Foundation in New York, making the prize’s total value $800,000. Nicole Eisenman was named the first recipient in 2018.