The Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize

The Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize seeks to discover talented writers on contemporary art. The winner of the Prize receives £1,000, their review is published on Burlington Contemporary and they have the opportunity to publish a review of a future contemporary art exhibition in The Burlington Magazine

Since its foundation in 1903 The Burlington Magazine has considered the art of the present to be as worthy of study as the art of the past. The Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize advances our commitment to the study of contemporary art in the magazine and on Burlington Contemporary. Designed to encourage aspiring writers, the Prize promotes clear, concise and well-structured writing that is able to navigate sophisticated ideas without recourse to over-complex language.

  • The 2022 edition of the Prize is now closed for entries.

    This year the Prize will be judged by Griselda Pollock and Legacy Russell. Our winner will be announced in September 2022. 



    Griselda Pollock is Professor Emerita of Social and Critical Histories of Art, University of Leeds and Laureate of the Holberg Prize 2020 for her work in feminist art history and cultural analysis. Recent Publications include After-Image/After-Affect: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation (2013), Charlotte Salomon in the Theatre of Memory (2018), Concentrationary Imaginaries: Tracing Totalitarian Violence in Popular Culture (2015) edited with Max Silverman, and Concentrationary Art: Jean Cayrol, The Lazarean and the Everyday in Post-War Literature, Music and the Visual Arts (2019). Recently published in 2022 is a revised all-colour edition of her 1995 monograph on Mary Cassatt as part of the Thames & Hudson World of Art series. In July 2022 her latest book, on Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler and Marilyn Monroe, will be published by Manchester University Press, titled Killing Men & Dying Women: Imagining Difference in 1950s New York Painting. 


    Legacy Russell is a curator and writer. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Kitchen, New York. Formerly she was the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Russell holds an MRes with Distinction in Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a focus in Visual Culture. Her academic, curatorial and creative work focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry and new media ritual. Russell’s written work, interviews and essays have been published internationally. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, a 2020 Rauschenberg Residency Fellow and a recipient of the 2021 Creative Capital Award. Her first book is Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (2020). Her second book, BLACK MEME, is forthcoming via Verso Books.

  • Entrants must have published no more than six pieces of writing in print or online prior to their submission. This does not include personal blogs and websites. 


    ‘Contemporary’ is defined as art produced since 2000. 


    There is no age limit for applicants.


    To enter the prize, entrants should submit one unpublished review of a contemporary art exhibition by the specified deadline. The exhibition under review should be current or have closed within the last six months at the date of submission. The review must be no more than 1,000 words in length and accompanied by up to three low-resolution images.


    The submitted review must be written in English (although the art considered may be international) and emailed as a Word document together with a completed submission form to:


    Please include your full name in the submitted file names. 

  • 2021

    The 2021 prize was judged by the art historian and curator Lowery Stokes Sims and the artist Elizabeth Price. The prize was awarded to Padraig Regan, who chose to write about Ambera Wellmann’s solo exhibition UnTurning at MAC, Belfast. The judges were particularly impressed by Padraig’s ability to combine art-historical analysis with evocative language. In particular they remarked on their ‘ability to position the act of painting as a physical experience’.



    The 2020 prize was judged by Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum, Miami and Polly Staple, Director of Collection, British Art, at Tate. The prize was awarded to Isabel Parkes, who chose to write about the presentation of Leilah Weinraub’s film Shakedown (2018) on the pornography website Pornhub. The judges were particularly impressed by Isabel’s ability to incorporate critical thinking into an evocative discussion of the work. 



    The 2019 prize was judged by the artist Andrea Fraser and Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England. The prize was awarded to Kirsty White, who chose to write about an exhibition of work by Lilah Fowler at Assembly Point, London. The judges were particularly impressed by Kirsty’s ability to convey the complexity of the work in clear language, while maintaining an incisive critical position. 



    The 2018 prize was judged by Jenni Lomax, former Director of the Camden Art Centre, London, and the artist Fiona Banner. The judges commended the diverse range of artists covered by the entrants, the variety of viewpoint represented and the general lack of formulaic ‘art speak’. The prize was awarded to Anna Campbell, who chose to write about an exhibition of work by Hetain Patel held at the Manchester Art Gallery, in 2017. 



    The 2017 prize was judged by Julia Peyton-Jones, former Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London, and Martin Caiger-Smith, Head of the MA programme Curating the Art Museum at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. The judges were very impressed by the range and overall quality of the entries, and particularly by their clear and controlled language and ambition in tackling complex and lesser-known work. The winner of the prize was John Parton, Commissioning Editor at Laurence King Publishing, for his review of Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. In the January 2018 issue of the Burlington Magazine he reviewed the Camille Henrot retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. 



    The 2016 Prize garnered over 130 entries from dozens of countries. The overall standard of the entries was described as ‘very impressive’ by the judges, Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, and Lynne Cooke, Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. The winner was Luke Naessens, an Exhibitions Assistant at Barbican Art Gallery. Luke wrote about Sculpture 4tet, an exhibition of sculptures by Luciano Fabro, Jean-Luc Moulène, Bruce Nauman and Danh Võ held at Marian Goodman Gallery, London. Luke has published a review in the January 2017 of the Burlington Magazine of an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, devoted to the sculptor Jean-Luc Mouléne.



    After a year’s hiatus, the 2015 Prize was judged by the Director of the Contemporary Art Society, Caroline Douglas, and art critic and novelist Michael Bracewell. The winner was Helena Anderson, who wrote about an Olga Chernysheva show at Pace Gallery, London. Helena published a review of the Imperial War Museum’s Lee Miller retrospective in the April 2016 issue of the Magazine.



    Judged by the artist Dexter Dalwood and Daniel F. Herrmann, Curator of Special Projects at the National Gallery, London, the 2013 Prize was awarded to Jenna Krumminga for her review of photographs by Larry Clark at C/O Berlin. Jenna reviewed an exhibition on photography and the American Civil War at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for the Magazine’s August 2013 issue.



    The inaugural Prize was judged by the current Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, Nicholas Cullinan, and Anna Lovatt, currently the Marguerite Hoffman Scholar in Residence at the SMU Meadows School of Art, Dallas, and a former lecturer at the University of Nottingham and the University of Manchester. The winner was Isabella Maidment, who wrote about an exhibition of work by Lygia Pape at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Isabella, who has since reviewed several exhibitions for the Magazine, received her doctorate from University College London. She is currently Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate.