Yorkshire Sculpture Park founder honoured

Peter Murray, the founder and director of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, was presented with the 2012 Visual Arts and Architecture Award at a reception on September 26 sponsored by the Mall Galleries.

‘”This I a great and unexpected surprise,” he said as he received his prize from chair Simon Tait. “I am more than honoured to receive this award which is a tribute to everyone who has helped to establish Yorkshire Sculpture Park.”

The prize is a unique piece of glass sculpture by Kane Cali, a Royal College of Art MA student.

Tait said it was the second award by the section – the first was won last year by architect Sir David Chipperfield – and that it was important for critics to show their appreciation of the efforts made by artists, curators and presenters of art. `”We have a big year in 2013, the Critics’ Cicle centenary, which will give us the opportunity not only to reflect on what has been achieved, but on the challenges of the present and future – the decline of newspapers, the rise of the web, the glut of ill-informed and damaging on-line reviews. Interesting times, when the knowledgeable critic that writes well and constructively will be needed more than ever by a discerning public”.

He said the prize could have been a life time achievement award – what Richard Attenborough called his “headstone award” when he was presented with one by BAFTA – but that his was not that, because the Yorkshire Sculpture Park project had never stood still and was now as important and relevant as ever.

The evening was well attended by both critics, artists and curators, including Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Tate, the sculptor and former RA president Phillip King and Jerwood chairman Alan Grieve.

Peter Murray has made a unique contribution to promoting sculpture internationally. It was in 1977, when principal lecturer in art education at Bretton Hall College, that he founded Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which now attracts over 350,000 visitors annually.  He has traveled in North America, India, Australia, Japan, Thailand, China and widely in Europe advising and lecturing at universities; contributed to conferences; written and broadcast extensively on the arts; judged several awards and prizes; and organized numerous exhibitions, including the current major exhibition of sculpture by Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Landscape, James Turrell, Jaume Plensa, Marino Marini, Barbara Hepworth and in 2007 Andy Goldsworthy, which won the South Bank Show Award for Visual Arts.  In 2008 Murray organized the first major exhibition in Europe of work by the late Isamu Nogushi including monumental sculpture never seen outside Japan.  Overseas exhibitions have included a Phillip King retrospective at Forte Belvedere in Florence.  Murray was awarded a CBE in 2010.