Nick Hackworth

Beck's Futures, ICA, London

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

In May writer and broadcaster Ekow Eshun takes up his new post as director of the ICA. It is an important moment for the institute which, despite its ongoing popularity, is in need of redefinition. Perfect timing, then, to assess the highlight of the ICA's annual calendar, Beck's Futures.

The UK's richest art prize, which awards an equal share of £40,000 to its shortlist and a further £20,000 to the winner, is this year competed for by only six artists, down from the usual 10. The increased selectivity has paid off: it's the strongest show for several years.

The best display is by Glaswegian Luke Fowler, whose two films - exploring the world of an underground musician, Xentos Jones, and investigating psychiatrist RD Laing - are so well put together that the hand of the editor, or artist, if you will, is barely noticeable. Perhaps he should be in a different competition altogether.