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Is this a golden age for older artists?

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One no longer need be young to be an emerging artist. The news that artists over the age of 50 are, for the first time since 1991, once again eligible for the Turner Prize partly reflects wider efforts to reassess artists who have been unduly neglected, often because their race or gender has excluded them from the dominant narrative of post-war art. But it is also a welcome reminder that, when it comes to art, innovation and potential are not merely the preserve of younger generations. Critics who have complained that the prize risks becoming a lifetime achievement award overlook the fact that, although lifetimes may share certain inevitabilities, their different rhythms of opportunity, experience and inspiration mean that they are otherwise far from uniform. Take the case of Phyllida Barlow, selected at the age of 73 to represent Britainat this year’s Venice Biennale. In an engrossing recent profile of the artist for the Guardian, the writer Charlotte Higgins set out how Barlow spent …