The jury “rapidly, unanimously” agreed to the artists’ request, Mr. Farquharson said, feeling it reflected their work. “Their art, like so much art, addresses politics, addresses ethical concerns so I think in each case the poetics and politics of their work is inseparable,” he said.
The group will share the prize fund of 40,000 pounds, around $52,000, a spokeswoman for the prize confirmed in an email. Past winners have included Damien Hirst and Steve McQueen, the director of the movies “12 Years a Slave” and “Widows.”
More recent winners — such as last year’s, Charlotte Prodger, an artist who shoots films on her iPhone — have been less illustrious, but the prize has maintained its status as the major talking point of Britain’s art world — or at least a chance for its newspaper critics to complain about the state of that art world.
The exhibition associated with this year’s shortlist received typically mixed reactions. Waldemar Januszczak, writing in The Sunday Times, railed against the judges for putting politics above art. “The use of the Turner as a propaganda vehicle for ultra-Londony evening-class lectures has become seriously off-putting,” he wrote.
“People don’t go to art to be turned into better citizens,” he added. “They go to art to have their eyes pleasured and their hearts touched.” The prize had “largely forgotten” that, he said. He pointed out that he agreed with the artists’ political positions.
But some took a different stance on the prize’s political thrust. “After years in the wilderness, the Turner is gaining identity and purpose in its commitment to exploring the expansion and original possibilities of political art in turbulent times,” Jackie Wullschläger wrote in The Financial Times. The shortlist was “a small miracle,” she said, as it contained two artists — Mr. Murillo and Mr. Abu Hamdan — “more substantial, fascinating and globally ambitious than any Turner laureate this century.”