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Offering $1 M. Purse, Japanese Company Creates One of World’s Biggest Art Prizes

The jury for the 2019 Nomura Art Award.

COURTESY NOMURA ART AWARD

Nomura Holdings, Inc., a financial holding company headquartered in Tokyo, will launch the Nomura Art Award, a prize that will be given to “an artist who has created a body of work of major cultural significance,” according to a release. The award already seems poised to be major: it comes with $1 million, making it among the largest cash purses for art awards worldwide.

The Nomura Art Award’s $1 million purse puts it ahead of the MacArthur “Genius” Grants, which come with $625,000 each and, according to an ARTnews survey conducted in 2018, previously held the record for the largest sum of any art prize in the world. Just beneath those grants are the annual Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize, which comes with a $250,000 purse, and ArtPrize and the newly founded Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize, both of which come with $200,000.

The companies funding the Nomura prize, which will be given out annually, are Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. and Nomura Real Estate Holdings, Inc. Art Agency, Partners, a division of the auction house Sotheby’s, is listed as serving as an adviser to the prize.

On the jury for the first Nomura Art Award are Doryun Chong, deputy director of curatorial operations and chief curator at Hong Kong’s M+ museum; Kathy Halbreich, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York; Yuko Hasegawa, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Max Hollein, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Nicholas Serota, chair of the Arts Council England; and Allan Schwartzman, the founder and principal of Art Agency, Partners. Okwui Enwezor, the former director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, who died at age 55 last week, previously served on the jury.

Alongside the $1 million sum given to one artist each year, Nomura will also name two early-career artists as the winners of its Emerging Artist Awards at a press conference in Kyoto in May. They will receive $100,000 each. In September, at a gala in Shanghai, the inaugural winner of the $1 million Nomura Art Award will be announced.

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