12 Important Art Prizes Given by Foundations and Biennials

Top Lists

October 20, 2018

Organized by distinguished organizations such as museums, government bodies, corporations, and philanthropic groups, art prizes and art awards honor the outstanding artistic talent of the day. Accompanied by grants and fellowships, these are wonderful opportunities for artists to fund and promote their practice.

We present you some of the most prestigious art prizes and awards which exist today, given by a range of foundations and biennials.

Featured image: ArtPrize, Installation Award - ‘Society of 23's Locker Dressing Room’ at the city water building by the richard app gallery, by Jeffrey Augustine Songco. Courtesy of ArtPrize.

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 the artists aged 35 and younger, who work in any medium. Their patron artists are Andreas Gursky, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami.

The 2019 edition of this art award will present 20 artists from all around the world.

Featured image: Future Generation Art Prize, 21 shortlisted artists for the Future Generation Art Prize 2017 with international jury members


An open, independently organized international visual art competition, ArtPrize takes place for 19 days every other fall throughout downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The participation is open to any artist who works in any medium from anywhere in the world. In 2018, more than 1,260 works created by more than 1,400 artists from 41 states and 40 countries will be showed in an art exhibition on view in over 165 venues.

Featured image: ArtPrize, Time-Based Winner - 'Red Dirt Rug Monument' at Western Michigan University Grand Rapids, by Rena Detrixhe. Courtesy of ArtPrize.

Jameel Prize

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.

For the new 2018 awards edition, there are eight nominated contemporary artists and designers who work in fields as diverse as fashion, multi-media installation, and painting.

Featured image: Mehdi Moutashar, Deux carrés dont un encadré (Two squares, one of them framed), 2017, wood, paint, elastic wire. Collection of the artist. Photo of the work © Fabrice Leroux. Courtesy of Jameel Prize.

Hugo Boss Prize

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.

The nominees of the 2018 edition are Bouchra Khalili, Simone Leigh, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang. The winner, Simone Leigh, was announced on October 19 in a special ceremony.

Featured image: Images of artwork from the six Hugo Boss Prize 2018 nominees

Bucksbaum Award

Established in 2000 by longtime Whitney trustee Melva Bucksbaum and her family, the Bucksbaum Award is given every two years in recognition of an artist, chosen from those included in the Whitney Biennial, whose work demonstrates a singular combination of talent and imagination. Winners receive a grant of $100,000 and an invitation to present an arts exhibition at the Whitney. The recipient of the ninth Bucksbaum Award was Chicago-based artist Pope.L.

Featured image: One of the Bucksbaum Award winners - Pope.L aka William Pope.L, Claim, 2017. Acrylic paint, graphite pencil, pushpins, wood, framed document, fortified wine, and bologna with black-and-white photocopy portraits, 15 × 16 3/4 × 16 3/4 ft. (4.6 × 5.1 × 5.1 m). Collection of the artist; courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Photograph Bill Orcutt

Duchamp Prize

Established in 2000, The Marcel Duchamp Prize is an annual global art award given to a young artist by the Association pour la Diffusion Internationale de l'Art Français. Winners are awarded 35,000€ and up to 30,000€ of funds in order to produce an art exhibition of their work in the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Nominated artists for the 2018 edition are Mohamed Bourouissa, Clément Cogitore, Thu Van Tran and Marie Voignier. The winner will be announced in a special ceremony.

Featured image: ADIAF-The 2017 Marcel Duchamp Prize at Centre Pompidou

Golden and Silver Lions

Venice Biennale's Golden Lion, one of the most prestigious art awards in the world, is awarded to the Best Artist of the Exhibition and to an artist for their lifetime achievement. The recipient of the Golden Lion for the Best Artist of the Exhibition of the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia – VIVA ARTE VIVA was Franz Erhard Walther, while the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was Carolee Schneemann. On the other hand, Silver Lion is awarded to a promising young artist. In 2017, it was awarded to Hassan Khan.

Featured image: Venice Biennale Arsenale via Amy Youngs

Malcolm Award

Named after Malcolm McLaren, a pop cultural visionary and icon, the The Malcolm (McLaren) Award is given by Performa to a standout artist in each biennial iteration. It was first presented in 2011, one year after McLaren died from cancer. 

The 2017 winner of the award was Kemang Wa Lehulere.

Featured image: Kemang Wa Lehulere, I cut my skin to liberate the splinter, 2017. A Performa 17 Commission. Photo © Paula Court

Turner Prize

First established in 1984 with an idea to encourage wider interest in contemporary art and assist Tate in acquiring new works, Turner Prize is today regarded as the most prestigious British art prize. It is awarded to a British artist, focusing on their recent developments in British art rather than a lifetime's achievement.

This year's shortlisted artists are Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.

Featured image: Turner Prize 2018 - Images of four nominees

The MacArthur Fellowship

Established by The MacArthur Foundation, The MacArthur Fellowship is awarded to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction, encouraging them to continue pursuing their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.

The 2018 Fellows of one of the most renowned art awards are 25 creatives working in diverse fields, from the arts and sciences to public health and civil liberties, solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing arts forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities.

Featured image: The MacArthur Fellowship, 2018 Fellows

Sobey Art Award

Established in 2002 by the National Gallery of Canada, Sobey Art Award is the pre-eminent art prize open for Canadian artists 40 and under. It is dedicated to promoting new developments in contemporary Canadian art and provide opportunities for artists, bringing them national and international attention.

This year's shortlisted artists are Joi T. Arcand, Jordan Bennett, Kapwani Kiwanga, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Jon Rafman.

Featured image: Sobey Art Award, 2018 Shortlisted Artists

Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize

Established in 1997 by The Photographers' Gallery in London, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is among the most prestigious 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. Establishing itself as one of the most prestigious prizes of the medium, it highlights significant trends of contemporary photography and artists shaping the current scene.

The winner of the 2018 edition was Luke Willis Thompson.

Featured image: Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize