Merlin Carpenter


The moves deemed necessary to enjoy career success in the British art world are becoming increasingly restricted to badges of triumph within an overwhelmingly competitive system. Beck’s, the beer company that, as an ubiquitous sponsor, entered into a symbiotic relationship with British art some years ago, recently inaugurated the Beck’s Futures prize. Aimed at artists with growing reputations, it has provided a useful staging post between the up-and-comer status conferred by an appearance in the annual New Contemporaries exhibition and the reputation-confirming imprimatur of a Turner Prize nomination.

Those who manage not to be seduced by the system’s largely empty promise of riches often choose to leave the country as soon as they have graduated from art school, returning only after they have regained a little sanity and breadth of purpose. Merlin Carpenter was one such, taking himself

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