Turner Prize for Excellence in the Arts

Each year a fine art print is purchased and added to The Turner’s permanent collection in the name of The Turner Prize recipient.

This special purchase is made in honor of an individual, business or organization that has made a difference to the vitality of the arts in the North Valley.  The honoree's name is a permanent part of the artist label when that print is exhibited.

2010-2011 Turner Prize Award

Allan ForbesThe Board of Directors at The Turner Print Museum selected Allan Forbes, a member of the Butte College Board of Trustees and faculty emeriti of CSU, Chico, as the 2011 Turner Prize honoree. Forbes was honored by the Turner Board of Directors in April for his part in establishing CSU, Chico as the home of The Turner Print collection.

"Without Allan's foresight and determination, we would not be able to share this important collection with the campus and our region," said Pat Kopp, current Vice President of The Turner Board.

Janet Turner and Allan Forbes served on the then-Faculty Senate together and became good friends. Both were Stanford grads who had come to Chico to make a career, he in Speech and she in the Art Department.

"I recall being charmed by Janet's comments about the birds she saw through the window during meetings," Forbes remembers. "She had a wry sense of humor and was a keen observer of the world."

Forbes became one of Turner's greatest advocates and was instrumental in convincing the University and the Chancellor's Office that the collection should not be missed and would add immeasurably to Chico's profile.

When Turner began to think about retirement, the Portland Museum of Art put in a bid for the collection, and Forbes worked behind the scenes to be sure that Chico and the CSU created the best venue for the collection.

While Portland had better facilities, Turner knew that they already had a fine collection, whereas Chico was hours from a similar resource for students and the community. She wanted to keep the collection at Chico and Forbes proved to be a major player in developing the appropriate facility and the will needed to seal the deal. 

Forbes recalled those as hectic days with long conversations with many different people, and he is glad he played such a role.

"This is a collection worth saving; a true treasure for our North State," said Forbes.

In fact, it has now grown from the original 1,500 prints to more than 3,500 and still stands as a premiere teaching collection, having prints from 40 countries and seven centuries, with all printmaking techniques represented.

Over the years, many collectors have donated pieces, and the Board has dedicated funds for new acquisitions. And as befitting such a collection, the Museum has moved from Laxson to the new site in Meriam Library, a much larger, more accessible space, where it hosts seven exhibits of fine print art annually, all open to students and the community free of charge. 

A new print by artist Tom Huck titled The Transformation of Brandy Baghead has been purchased for the museum in recognition of Allan Forbes, and each time the print is displayed its label will honor the 2010–2011 Turner Prize recipient.

Tom Huck

Huck, Tom

B. 2009
‘The Transformation of Brandy Baghead’
Woodcut Triptych

Tom Huck, born in 1971, is perhaps the most acclaimed St. Louis artist of his generation. He is best known for his large–scale woodcuts. His imagrey depicts powerful responses to many of the issues, concerns and features of life in the late twentieth and early twenty–first centuries. While his work speaks volumes about the state of American culture at the present moment his work is steeped in the 500–year–old draws heavily upon the influence of Albrecht Dürer, Jose Guadalupe Posada, R. Crumb, and Honoré Daumier.

Tom Huck was kicked out of art class on his first day at Potosi High School. "Everybody had talked about me getting into high school art," Huck says. "'Wait till this Huck boy comes up. You should see his work and what he can do.' The first day was freakin' color wheels! I mouthed off to [my teacher] and said I don't want to do this, my sister's doing it, and she's in second grade. "He marched me down to the office and basically said, 'I don't want this Huck kid in any of my classes ever again.' That was it. I had study hall for four years. It was misery."

Fortunately for Huck, his parents always supported his art. In middle school they converted a room of their house into an art studio for him. After his expulsion from high school art class, his mother, Janet, enrolled him in art classes at a local college. He studied art there throughout high school, earning enough college credits that he was able to graduate from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale in three years.The Transformation of Brandy Baghead Full

The central panel of The Transformation of Brandy Baghead, a triptych that tells the story of a beauty queen who turns herself into a bird-like creature in order to win a reality-TV figure-skating competition is hand carved from a piece of Maine birch plywood roughly eight feet high by four feet wide. Huck uses a gouge, a tool about six inches long and not much thicker than a pen, to carve the 4,500-plus square inches of the block in series of very small scrapes and jabs. The component parts are an extraordinary landscape of marks.
The triptych is part of Huck's new project, "Booger Stew," a series of fifteen triptychs that he estimates will take fifteen years to complete. Whether Huck’s densely packed satirical images are to your taste or not, you have to be impressed by his ambition.

Huck doesn't need much time to print one of his blocks — a half-hour, maximum, most of which time he spends methodically using a brayer (like a fat, stubby rolling pin) to spread black ink across the surface of the block. Methodically is the key word here. Should even a small area of the finished print come out too light or too dark, Huck will rip it up and start again.

Because the printing process reverses whatever he has carved into his blocks, Huck must draw and then carve the mirror image of the woodcut he has envisioned. Only at the very end of several months' labor will he learn what his work really looks like.

Huck's woodcut prints are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Spencer Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Saint Louis Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum, and New York Public Library. Tom Huck is represented by Baer Ridgway Exhibitions in San Francisco.

For more on the artist Tom Huck see www.evilprints.com

View past Turner Prize Honorees