Who Decides?



Who should decide on great art? Is it artists, curators, critics, dealers? Is it the market or public opinion?  What happens when the public decide?

Paul Benney, Mychael Barratt and Nicholas Usherwood discuss these questions to the backdrop of By Popular Demand, a survey of Visitors Choice and Selectors' prize winners from the last eight years of the Columbia Threadneedle Prize.


Paul Benney

Paul Benney has worked as an artist and musician in both the U.S. and U.K. and is represented in public collections world wide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Australia, The National Portrait Gallery,  The Royal Collection, The Eli Broad Foundation, AIG Houston, and Standard Life.

Benney has twice won the public choice award in the BP Portrait Award and has been short listed on two occasions. In 2013 he was invited to be one of the judges for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize.


Mychael Barratt

Mychael Barrett is an artist printmaker and the current President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, based at Bankside Gallery. His work can be found in The British Library, Fleet Street and Victoria and Albert Museum.  Mychael is a Trustee of the Contemporary Arts Trust, formally the Arts Club Charitable Trust, which since its formation has given more than £375,000 in prizes and awards to deserving artists. 


Nicholas Usherwood

Nicholas Usherwood is a curator, art critic and writer on contemporary art and culture. He has written for publications including The Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, Arts Review and Resurgence and has been Features Editor of Galleries magazine since 1998.  Originally trained as an art historian he went on to work at the Royal Academy for some years before going independent in the late 70s. Usherwood was a judge for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize in 2012.