John Moores 25

Peter McDonald, Fontana, 2008. Image © National Museums Liverpool

Peter McDonald, Fontana, 2008. Image © National Museums Liverpool

20 September 2008 – 4 January 2009

Fifty years on from the first prize in 1957, in 2008 the John Moores continued to attract the serious attention of artists. There were more entries (3,222) than ever before, demonstrating the ongoing interest in the contemporary challenges of painting as well as the continuing prestige of the John Moores Prize. From this entry, jurors Jake and Dinos Chapman, Paul Morrison, Graham Crowley and Sacha Craddock selected just forty works for the exhibition.

Some shared concerns, issues and moods emerged. Many of the artists used painting to raise questions about the nature of the everyday, to make the familiar unfamiliar or gothic in its intense uneasiness. Several artists were concerned with challenges of authenticity or the position of painting described by author Richard Kirwan: ‘Painting exists in an increasingly sophisticated visual world that has little or no interest in the capability of painting in particular’. The jurors in 2008 were determined to select works of contemporary relevance and resonance. The resulting exhibition showed the sometimes surprising and always lively character and quality of contemporary British painting.

In 2008, The John Moores Prizewinner was Peter McDonald with his artwork Fontana.