Rebecca Lidert, Director of CNB gallery, is one of the driving forces behind the Hix Award. We sit down Rebecca to discuss the state of emerging art today and get a behind the scenes look at the Hix Award itself.
Since 2013, HIX award has established itself as a preeminent award for emerging artists, tell us a little about how it came into being and what makes it so special.
Five years ago I started working for Mark HIX after studying sculpture myself, and the journey to getting a job in the art world was a very long winded and daunting task. I studied curating after my degree and it all seemed to be focused on theory. I developed this award to aid the very determined in getting a leg up in the real world, not just in theory, allowing the applicant to make contacts with a group of very influential people slowing the short listed to make contacts that really could change the direction of their budding careers. We have seen Ally McIntyre and Felix Treadwell make huge advances in their careers.
Despite the art market performing fairly robustly over the last few years why do you think so many artists struggle to establish themselves in their first few years out of art school?
The universities are amazing establishments; however, the reality of what galleries need from artists is very different from what art students are exposed to at university. Most universities do not teach professional development strategies to young artists and the HIX Award is in place to do exactly that.
Amongst shortlisted candidates, have you noticed any shifts in the nature of the work and artists you see?
In the last few years I have seen many courses popping up at Art schools. These courses, in my opinion are established for students that would like to be studying fine art but need to be given an option of securing a job post-graduation. In current the financial climate with rising tuition fees, it has become less and less feasible for students from all backgrounds to become established artists. Therefore, I have seen first-hand that art works have become more cautious.
There are 30 judges including Anita Zabludowicz, Ivan Massow and of course Mark Hix. How easy is it to reach some consensus amongst such a broad, expert panel?
We don’t have to, everything is judged on a points system. Not even the judges themselves know the winner until the announcement.
Do you have any particular favourites this year?
Yes, but I can’t tell you!
The prize-giving ceremony will be held at Unit London on Monday 5th September, and runs until the 9th of September.