‘Flagrant exclusivity’: Criticism of all-male shortlist leads nominees of BelgianArtPrize 2019 to withdraw

Bozar art centre in Brussels, hosting the exhibition of the BelgianArtPrize in 2019

Following an open letter signed by hundreds of members of Belgium’s art community, which critiques the selection of an all-male shortlist, the five nominees for the 2019 BelgiumArtPrize have withdrawn from the competition, Artforum reports. The artists’ collective decision was made, not in solidarity with the change.org petition, but because they felt that the discussion surrounding the prize had become ‘reductive’. The open letter, which states that ‘the flagrant exclusivity of this year’s prize candidates and its denial of not only social but also aesthetic reality (gender being just one of its glaring discriminatory categories) does not represent how we see ourselves, or our community, and raises consequential questions on how privilege might be distributed within it’, was met by another open letter penned by the nominees Sven Augustijnen, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Gabriel Kuri, and the duo Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys that described their regret at public discourse having turned away from artistic merit and focusing instead on white male privilege. They have also made clear that they don’t believe the jury (Sophie Lauwers, Kersten Geers, Bernard Marcelis, Michel Moortgat, Giuliana Setari Carusi, Philippe Van Cauteren and Sylvie Winckler) made a discriminatory selection.

23 May 2018