Richard gets Whitechapel’s Art Icon award for his ‘long’ line over 50 years

Richard Long's first show at Whitechapel in 1971 and [inset] today at 70, presented Gallery's Art Ic

Richard Long's first show at Whitechapel in 1971 and [inset] today at 70, presented Gallery's Art Icon award - Credit: Archant

Artist Richard Long has been awarded the 2015 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon at a gala dinner honouring his lifetime achievement in sculpture, performance and photography.

The award was for his pioneering contemporary work documenting his journeys around the world over half-a-century, from Dartmoor to the icy peaks in Antarctica.

The 70-year-old is regarded in the art world today as “the vanguard of conceptual art in Britain” since creating his Line Made by Walking while a student in 1967.

Gallery director Iwona Blazwick said: “The Art Icon is our art ‘Oscar’ celebrating an important artist and enabling us to raise the funds to nurture the next generation of artists.”

An auction by Sotheby’s Oliver Barker of work donated by leading artists in homage to Long raised almost £164,000, at a gala night in the City of London honouring Long, for the Whitechapel’s education and community programmes.

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Richard Long’s first major solo exhibition was at the Whitechapel in 1971, when he was 26, which Included Pine Needles, a huge diagonal cross of pine needles spreading across the gallery, and A Straight Walk from the Bottom to the Top of Silbury Hill which caused shockwaves when it was unveiled to the public.

He has aslso had solo exhibitions at The Tate Modern and Hayward Gallery as well as in major museums in San Francisco, Kyoto, Philadelphia and New York.

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Long represented Britain at the 37th Venice Biennale in 1976 and won the Turner Prize in 1989. He was awarded Japan’s Praemium Imperiale for sculpture in 2009 and was made a CBE in 2013.

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