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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.



For more information please visit Burlington Contemporary

The 2023 prize was judged by the art historian, writer and editor Huey Copeland and the artist Adam Pendleton. The prize was awarded to Kolleen Ku, who chose to write about the group exhibition Home-O-stasis: Lives and Livelihoods in Flushing, which was staged in a mini-mall in Flushing, New York.

The judges were particularly impressed by Kolleen’s ability to ‘write in prose that is as narratively compelling as it is culturally incisive’, noting that ‘she deftly explores the exhibition’s situation within and emergence from the vibrant aesthetic life of Asian immigrant communities in Queens. The exhibition’s themes are identified, contextualised and further explored, leaving readers with a thorough understanding of the curatorial aims of the project’.

You can read Kolleen’s winning entry here.



This year’s judges are the art historian, writer and editor Huey Copeland and the artist Adam Pendleton.

Huey Copeland 
is BFC Presidential Associate Professor of Modern Art and Black Study at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Copeland is an editor of October and the author of numerous articles, essays and reviews, as well the monograph Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (2013). His most recent volume is Black Modernisms in the Transatlantic World, an anthology co-edited with Steven Nelson, commissioned by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts and published by Yale University Press.

Adam Pendleton is an artist based in New York. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at numerous museums, most recently the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2021–22), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2022) and the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2023). His work has also been featured in the Venice Biennale (2015), the Whitney Biennial (2022) and other prominent group exhibitions, including Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America at the New Museum, New York (2021). Writing and publishing are central to Pendleton’s practice, and his many books include Black Dada Reader (2017), Heavy as Sculpture (2021) and Who Is Queen? A Reader (2021). In 2020 he founded DABA, an imprint for books on art, experimental writing and visual poetry. To date, DABA has published books by N. H. Pritchard, Brion Gysin and Giovanna Sandri, among others. 


The 2022 prize was judged by the art historian Griselda Pollock and the writer and curator Legacy Russell. The prize was awarded to Poppy Menzies Walker, who chose to write about Ufuoma Essi's solo exhibition All That You Can’t Leave Behind at Public Gallery, London. The judges were impressed by Poppy's ‘ability to address the specificity of the installation in the space’ as well as her ‘deft exploration of Essi’s homage to three Black sound artists and the conditions of their defiance’. They commented that ‘this piece responds urgently to the moment we are in, asking questions about the tender contributions and sticky queerness of Black diasporic life, amplifying the ways in which our records are inextricably bound up within our technologies of documentation’. 

The judges also highly commended a review by Zoe Weldon-Yochim of the group exhibition Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, which they considered to be ‘an intelligent review that expertly binds together a historical understanding of the work with a description of how it generates visual forms for the viewer to grasp both pasts and presents’.



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 TateThe 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.