The Burlington Magazine is delighted to announce that the winner of the Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize 2017 is John Parton

John chose to write about a survey of the performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s work at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in 2016. In addition to receiving the Prize of £1000, Parton, a Commissioning Editor at Laurence King Publishing, will be invited to write a review of a contemporary art exhibition for the Magazine in the coming months.

The winning entry can be read here.

The judges were 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 especially impressed by the precision with which Parton articulated the experience of viewing films of Kjartansson’s performances. They also highlighted the facility shown by Parton in providing a vivid, overarching sense of the artist’s work in only 1000 words.

Having received over 100 entries from numerous countries to this year’s Prize, we were very impressed by their range and overall quality. The judges made particular note of the clear and controlled language of the best entries, as well as their ambition in tackling complex and lesser-known work.

Of these, the judges wished to give honourable mentions to Lucy Biddle for her review of a solo show by Tessa Lynch at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, and Conrad Steel, who wrote about John Baldessari’s recent exhibition Miró and Life in General at Marian Goodman Gallery, London.

Peyton-Jones and Caiger-Smith added:

We were fascinated to read such a wide-ranging selection of reviews, and the discussion that led us to make an award was rigorous and lengthy. The challenge of arriving at a shortlist itself must have been considerable. We commend all those who submitted entries, and particularly congratulate the winner as well as the two entries we felt worthy of an honourable mention. 

The Burlington would like to thank everyone who participated in and supported the Prize, and look forward to the 2018 edition, for which applications will open in October.

Past Winners and Judges


The inaugural Prize was judged by current Director of the National Portrait Gallery, 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 chose to write about an exhibition of work by Lygia Pape at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Isabella has since reviewed several exhibitions for the Magazine, received her doctorate from University College London and became Assistant Curator of Performance at Tate in 2016. Read Isabella’s review of the 2012 Liverpool Biennial.


Judged by the artist Dexter Dalwood and Daniel F. Herrmann, Eisler Curator & Head of Curatorial Studies at the Whitechapel 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. 


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


The 2016 Prize garnered the largest number of entries received to date, with over 130 submitted from dozens of countries across several continents. The overall standard of the entries was described as ‘very impressive’ by the judges, Alex Farquharson, the 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 chose to write about Sculpture 4tet, an exhibition of sculptures by Luciano Fabro, Jean-Luc Moulène, Bruce Nauman and Danh Võ held at Marian Goodman Gallery, London.