Turner Prize


Turner Prize

The Turner Prize, named after the painter J.M.W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under 50. It is organized by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised art award. It has become associated with conceptual art, although it represents all media and painters have also won the prize.

The prize fund from 2004 onwards was £40,000. There have been different sponsors, including Channel 4 television and Gordon's gin. The prize is awarded by a distinguished celebrity: in 2006 this was Yoko Ono.

It is a controversial event, mainly for its exhibits, such as a shark in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst and a dishevelled bed by Tracey Emin. Controversy has also ensued from other directions, including a Culture Minister (Kim Howells criticising exhibits), a guest of honour (Madonna swearing), a prize judge (Lynn Barber writing in the press) and a speech by Sir Nicholas Serota (about the purchase of a trustee's work).

The event has also regularly attracted demonstrations, notably the K Foundation and the Stuckists, as well as alternative prizes to assert different artistic values.

Background

Each year after the announcement of the four nominees and during the build-up to the announcement of the winner, the Prize receives intense attention from the media. Much of this attention is critical and the question is often asked, "is this art?". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/547310.stm "Head to Head: Turner Prize — Is It Art?" BBC, 2 December 1999] Retrieved March 22, 2006] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/2380393.stm "Turner Prize: Is It Art? BBC, 4 November 2002] Retrieved March 22, 2006] The artists usually work in "innovative" media, including video art, installation art and unconventional sculpture, though painters have also won.

Artists are chosen for a show they have staged in the preceding year. Nominations for the prize are invited from the public, although this was widely considered to have negligible effect — a suspicion confirmed in 2006 by Lynn Barber, one of the judges.Barber, Lynn (2006) [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerprize2006/story/0,,1884682,00.html "How I suffered for art's sake"] "The Observer", 1 October, 2006. Accessed 15 January, 2006] Typically, there is a three-week period in May for public nominations to be received; the short-list (which since 1991 has been of four artists) is announced in July; a show of the nominees' work opens at Tate Britain in late October; and the prize itself is announced at the beginning of December. The show stays open till January. The prize is officially not judged on the show at the Tate, however, but on the earlier show for which the artist was nominated.

The exhibition and prize rely on commercial sponsorship. From 1987 this was provided by the company Drexel Burnham Lambert; their withdrawal led to the 1990 prize being cancelled. Channel 4, an independent television channel, stepped in for 1991, doubled the prize money to £20,000, and supported the event with documentaries and live broadcasts of the prize-giving. In 2004 they were replaced as sponsors by Gordon's gin, who also doubled the prize money to £40,000, with £5,000 going to each of the shortlisted artists, and £25,000 to the winner.

As much as the shortlist of artists reflects the state of British Art, the composition of the panel of judges, which includes curators and critics, provides some indication of who holds influence institutionally and internationally, as well as rising stars. Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota has been the Chair of the jury since his tenure at the Tate (with the exception of the current year when Chairman is the Director of Tate Liverpool, where the prize is being staged). There are conflicting reports as to how much personal sway he has over the proceedings.

The media success of the Turner Prize contributed to the success of (and was in turn helped by) the late 1990s phenomena of Young British Artists (several of whom were nominees and winners), Cool Britannia, and exhibitions such as the Charles Saatchi-sponsored "Sensation" exhibition.

Most of the artists in the prize become known to the general public for the first time and some have talked of the difficulty of sudden media exposure. Sale prices of the winners have generally increased Kennedy, Maev (2004) [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerprize2004/story/0,,1368060,00.html "Turner prize shock: out of four serious competitors, the best artist wins"] "The Guardian", 7 December, 2004. Accessed 15 January, 2007] . Chris Ofili, Anish Kapoor and Jeremy Deller later became trustees of the Tate. Some artists, notably Sarah Lucas, have declined the invitation to be nominated.

The criteria of the Turner Prize have been challenged by alternative prizes, firstly in 1993 by the K Foundation's "Anti-Turner Prize", followed by the satirical Turnip Prize, the Stuckists "Real Turner Prize", the "Daily Mail"'s "Not the Turner Prize" and a BBC "Mock Turner". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4469468.stm "Judge our Mock Turner final"] BBC, 29 November, 2005. Accessed 15 January, 2007]

Winners and nominees

:"For a list of winners and nominees, see List of Turner Prize winners and nominees."

History

1984

The first Turner Prize was award to Malcolm Morley, an English artist living in the United States.

1990

In 1990, there was no prize because of lack of sponsorship.

1993

Rachel Whiteread was the winner for "House", a concrete cast of a house on the corner of Grove Road and Roman Road, London E3. Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond of the K Foundation received media coverage for the award of the "Anti-Turner Prize", £40,000 to be given to the "worst artist in Britain", voted from the real Turner Prize's short-list. Rachel Whiteread was awarded their prize. She refused to accept the money at first, but changed her mind when she heard the cash was to be burned instead, and gave £30,000 of it to artists in financial need and the other £10,000 to the housing charity, Shelter. The K Foundation went on to make a film in which they burned £1 million of their own money ("Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid"). Sean Scully was a nominee.

1997

The winner, Gillian Wearing, showed a video "60 minutes of Silence" (1996), where a group of actors were dressed in police uniforms and had to stand still for an hour (occasional surreptitious scratching could be observed).

There was a Channel 4 television programme debate stimulated by the prize. One participant was Tracey Emin, known in the art world but largely unknown to the wider public at that time. She appeared completely drunk (she has said this was caused by painkillers she was taking for a broken finger), swearing, insulting the other panel members and saying that she wanted to go home to her mum (she then left). It caused considerable media attention and brought her national fame.

1998

The talking point was Chris Ofili's use of balls of elephant dung attached to his mixed media images on canvas, as well as being used as supports on the floor to prop them up. An illustrator deposited dung on the steps in protest against his work. Ofili won the prize and it was the first time in twelve years that a painter had done so; it was presented by French fashion designer agnes b. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/226000.stm "Elephant dung artist scoops award"] , BBC, 3 December 1998. Retrieved 9 April 2008.] Ofili joked, "Oh man. Thank God! Where's my cheque?" and said, "I don't know what to say. I am just really happy. I can't believe it. It feels like a film and I will watch the tape when I get home." One of Ofili's works, "No Woman No Cry" is based on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, murdered in a race attack.

The Jury included musician Neil Tennant, author Marina Warner, curator Fumio Nanjo and British Council officer Ann Gallagher, chaired by Nicholas Serota.

1999

Greatest attention was given to Tracey Emin's exhibit "My Bed", which was a double bed in a dishevelled state with stained sheets, surrounded by detritus such as soiled underwear, condoms, slippers and empty drink bottles. Two artists, Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi , jumped onto the bed, stripped to their underwear, and had a pillow fight. Police detained the two, who called their performance "Two Naked Men Jump Into Tracey's Bed". They claimed that her work had not gone far enough, and that they were improving it. Charges were not pressed against them. Emin also displayed 2-d artwork and videos. She was commonly thought to have been the winner (and is still sometimes referred to as such), although in fact the Prize was given to Steve McQueen for his video based on a Buster Keaton film.

2000

The prize was won by Wolfgang Tillmans. Other entries included a large painting by Glenn Brown based very closely on a science fiction illustration some years previously. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1044375.stm|title=Copycat row hits Turner Prize|author= |date=2000-11-28|accessdate=2007-11-26]

The Stuckist art group staged their first demonstration against the prize, dressed as clowns, describing it as an "ongoing national joke" and "a state-funded advertising agency for Charles Saatchi", adding "the only artist who wouldn't be in danger of winning the Turner Prize is Turner", and concluding that it "should be re-named The Duchamp Award for the destruction of artistic integrity". "The Guardian" announced the winner of Turner Prize with the headline "Turner Winner Riles the Stuckists". [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerpeoplespoll/story/0,,1067793,00.html "Turner Winner Riles the Stuckists", The Guardian, November 29, 2000] Retrieved March 26, 2000]

2001

]

2002

The media focused on a large display by Fiona Banner whose wall-size text piece, "Arsewoman in Wonderland", described a pornographic film in detail. The Guardian asked, "It's art. But is it porn?" calling in "Britain's biggest porn star," Ben Dover, to comment. [Brockes, Emma [http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/turnerprize2002/story/0,12574,830233,00.html "It's art. But is it porn?"] , "The Guardian" online, November 5, 2002. Retrieved May 21, 2007.] Culture Minister Kim Howells made a scathing criticism of the exhibits. graffiti artist Banksy stencilled "Mind the crap" on the steps of the Tate, who called in emergency cleaners to remove it. The prize was won by Keith Tyson.

2003

The Chapman Brothers (Jake and Dinos Chapman) were given what was generally felt to be a long-overdue nomination, and caused press attention for a sculpture, "Death", that appeared to be two cheap plastic blow-up sex dolls with a dildo. It was in fact made of bronze, painted to look like plastic.

Attention was also given to transvestite Grayson Perry who exhibited pots decorated with sexual imagery, and was the prize winner. He wore a flouncy skirt to collect the prize, announced by Sir Peter Blake, who said, after being introduced by Sir Nicholas Serota, "Thank you very much Nick. I'm quite surprised to be here tonight, because two days ago I had a phone call asking if I would be a judge for the "Not the Turner Prize". And two years ago I was asked by the Stuckists to dress as a clown and come and be on the steps outside, so I am thrilled and slightly surprised to be here." [ [http://www.stuckism.com/Tate/Tate03.html "Turner Prize demo 2003"] , stuckism.com. Retrieved 2 April 2008.]

2004

The media focused on a large computer simulation of a former hideout of Osama bin Laden by Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, as well as the fact that one of their exhibits, a film in a Kabul courtroom was withdrawn as it related to an ongoing trial of a suspected Afghan warlord. Betting favourite Jeremy Deller won the prize with his film "Memory Bucket", documenting both George W. Bush's hometown Crawford, Texas – and the siege in nearby Waco. The prize money was increased this year with £25,000 to the winner, and, for the first time, other nominees were rewarded (with £5,000 each).

2005

A great deal was made in the press about the winning entry by Simon Starling, which was a shed that he had converted into a boat, sailed down the River Rhine and turned back into a shed again. Two newspapers bought sheds and floated them to parody the work. The prize was presented by Culture Minister, David Lammy. Before introducing him, Sir Nicholas Serota, in an "unusual, possibly unprecedented" move, took the opportunity to make "an angry defence" of the Tate's purchase of "The Upper Room". [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2005/12/07/do0705.xml Notebook by Andrew Marr (2nd item), The Daily Telegraph, December 7, 2005] Retrieved March 24, 2006] [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerprize2005/story/0,16063,1659056,00.html?gusrc=rss "It's a shed, it's collapsible, it floats and (with help from a bike) it's the winner", The Guardian, December 6, 2005] Retrieved March 24, 2006]

2006

The nominees were announced on May 16, 2006. The exhibition of nominees' work opened at Tate Britain on October 3. Yoko Ono, the celebrity announcer chosen for the year, declared Tomma Abts the winner on December 4 during a live Channel 4 broadcast, although this was part of the evening news broadcast, rather than in a dedicated programme as in recent years. The total prize money was £40,000. £25,000 awarded to the winner and £5,000 to each of the other 3 nominees. The prize was sponsored by the makers of Gordon’s gin.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, "The Sunday Telegraph" obtained emails between the Tate and judge Lynn Barber, which revealed that the judges had been sent a list of shows by artists too late to be able to see them and instead were being supplied with catalogues and photographs of work.Hastings, Chris (2006) [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/30/nturner30.xml "Shows missed by judges, questions over artists… It must be the Turner Prize"] "The Sunday Telegraph" online, April 30, 2006. Accessed May 20, 2006]

More controversy ensued when Barber wrote in "The Observer" about her troubles as a judge, even asking, "Is it all a fix?", a comment subsequently displayed on a Stuckist demonstration placard, much to her chagrin. [Barber, Lynn (2006) [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1968403,00.html "My Turner's over. Phew!] "The Observer, 10 December, 2006. Accessed 16 January, 2007]

The Judges were::Lynn Barber, journalist, "The Observer":Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery:Matthew Higgs, Director and Chief Curator, White Columns, New York:Andrew Renton, writer and Director of Curating, Goldsmiths College:Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chairman of the Jury

2007

The winner of the £25,000 Prize was Mark Wallinger.Higgins, Charlotte. [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerprize2007/story/0,,2221321,00.html "Bear man walks away with Turner Prize"] , "The Guardian", 3 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.] His display at the Turner Prize show was "Sleeper", a film of him dressed in a bear costume wandering around an empty museum, but the prize was officially given for State Britain, which recreated all the objects in Brian Haw's anti-war display in Parliament Square, London. The judges commended Wallinger's work for its "immediacy, visceral intensity and historic importance", and called it "a bold political statement with art's ability to articulate fundamental human truths." The prize was presented by Dennis Hopper.

For the first time in its 23 year history, the Turner Prize was held outside of London, in Tate Liverpool (in support of Liverpool being the European Capital of Culture in 2008). Concurrently there was an exhibition of previous winners at Tate Britain in London.

Unlike recent years, Sir Nicholas Serota was not the jury chairman; instead, the chairman was Christoph Grunenberg, the Director of Tate Liverpool. The panel is: [http://www.tate.org.uk/liverpool/exhibitions/turnerprize2007/default.shtm "Turner Prize 07"] tate.org. Accessed May 21, 2007] :Fiona Bradley, Director of the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh:Michael Bracewell, critic and writer:Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum, Harlem:Miranda Sawyer, writer and broadcaster:Christoph Grunenberg, Director of Tate Liverpool (Chairman of the Jury)

The nominees were: [cite news | last = Reynolds | first = Nigel | url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/08/nturner108.xml | title = Iraq protest camp shortlisted for Turner Prize | work = The Daily Telegraph | date = 2007-05-10 | accessdate = 2007-05-21 ] :Mark Wallinger for his Tate Britain installation, "State Britain":Nathan Coley, a Glasgow artist, who makes installations based on buildings:Zarina Bhimji, a Ugandan Asian photographer and filmmaker:Mike Nelson, an installation artist

Nelson and Wallinger had both previously been nominated for the prize.

The Stuckists announced that they were not demonstrating for the first time since 2000, [Reynolds, Nigel. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/12/03/baturner104.xml "Mark Wallinger wins 2007 Turner Prize"] , "Daily Telegraph", 3 December 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007.] because of "the lameness of this year's show, which does not merit the accolade of the traditional demo". [ [http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/stuckists-turner-prize-protest-apology-2/ "Stuckists' Turner Prize Protest Apology"] , , 2 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.] Instead, art group AAS reenacted previous Stuckist demonstrations in protest against their own practice at the Royal Standard Turner Prize Extravaganza [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUQbQICP960 "Documentation of AAS Stuckist demonstration 2007"] .]

2008

"Main article: 2008 Turner Prize".

For the second year running, Sir Nicholas Serota is not chairing the Turner Prize jury; instead Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain, is the chair. The other members are Jennifer Higgie, editor of "frieze", Daniel Birnbaum, rector of the Staedelschule international art academy, Frankfurt, architect David Adjaye, and Suzanne Cotter, senior curator, Modern Art Oxford.Gayford, Martin. [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=atked90EZ9lw&refer=home "Leckey, Wilkes, Islam, Macuga on U.K. Turner Prize Shortlist "] , bloomberg.com, 13 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.] The prize winner will receive £25,000 and the other three nominees £5,000 each. In recent years the prize has attracted commercial sponsorship, but does not have any this year. The nominees are Runa Islam, Mark Leckey, Goshka Macuga, and Cathy Wilkes; the Prize exhibition opened at Tate Britain on 30 September and the winner will be announced on 1 December. [ [http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/visual_arts/article3922864.ece "Tate courts controversy with Turner Prize shortlist"] , "The Times", 14 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.]

Criticism

For

*Critic Richard Cork said, "there will never be a substitute for approaching new art with an open mind, unencumbered by rancid clichés. As long as the Turner Prize facilitates such engagement, the buzz surrounding it will remain a minor distraction." [ [http://www.tate.org.uk/magazine/issue2/tp_everywinner.htm "The Turner Prize: Everyone's a winner"] "Tate Magazine" (2002) on the Tate web site. Accessed 15 January, 2007]
*In 2006 newspaper columnist Janet Street-Porter condemned the Stuckists' "feeble knee-jerk reaction" to the prize and said, "The Turner Prize and Becks Futures both entice thousands of young people into art galleries for the first time every year. They fulfil a valuable role". [Street-Porter, Janet (2006) [http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_m_z/janet_street_porter/article485913.ece "Paul is better off without Heather"] "The Independent" online, May 18, 2006 (pay to view). Accessed May 20, 2006.]
*Art critic Dan Fox (Associate editor of frieze) argues that the Turner Prize should be considered a barometer for the mood of the nation. 2007 winner Mark Wallinger was first nominated in 1995, alongside Hirst - whom walked away with the prize that year during an era of Tony Blair and New Labour, rock stars in Downing Street and Britpop bombarding the airwaves. In 2007 the UK is faced with the fall out of the Iraq War, Lilly Allen, Amy Winehouse and 'the war on terror' - things are not exactly rosy, so it is, arguably, of little surprise that such a blatant political work came to the nation's attention. [Fox, Dan. [http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/turner_prize_2007/ "Comment Turner Prize 2007"] , "frieze" online.]

Against

* The "Evening Standard" critic Brian Sewell, wrote "The annual farce of the Turner Prize is now as inevitable in November as is the pantomime at Christmas".

*Critic Jonathan Jones, wrote:"Turner Prize art is based on a formula where something looks startling at first and then turns out to be expressing some kind of banal idea, which somebody will be sure to tell you about. The ideas are never important or even really ideas, more notions, like the notions in advertising. Nobody pursues them anyway, because there's nothing there to pursue." [Jones, Jonathan. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/feature/0,1169,1469584,00.html "Blake's Heaven"] , "The Guardian", 25 April 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2008.]

* The art critic David Lee has argued that since the re-organisation of the prize in 1991 the shortlist has been dominated by artists represented by a small number of London dealers, namely Nicholas Logsdail of the Lisson Gallery, and others closely linked to the collector Charles Saatchi: Jay Jopling, Maureen Paley and Victoria Miro. The Lisson Gallery has had the most success of any gallery with the Turner Prize from 1991 to 2004.

* In 2002 Culture Minister Kim Howells pinned the following statement to a board in a room specially-designated for visitors' comments. "If this is the best British artists can produce then British art is lost. It is cold mechanical, conceptual bullshit. Kim Howells. P.S. The attempts at conceptualisation are particularly pathetic and symptomatic of a lack of conviction" His stance was approved by the government, who saw it as a popular one.Fact|date=May 2008

ee also

*List of prizes, medals, and awards
*Marcel Duchamp Prize

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/2008_turner_prize_shortlist_announced/ 2008 Turner Prize shortlist announced]
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/ The Turner Prize, official Tate gallery web site]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/gallery/image/0,8543,-10204774275,00.html 20 years of Turner Prize winners (image gallery), "The Guardian"]
* [http://www.hatii.arts.gla.ac.uk/MultimediaStudentProjects/00-01/9704524l/MM%20Project/ Turner Prize, Glasgow University project]
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue11/turnerprize.htm Martin Herbert on the Turner Prize]
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/magazine/issue2/tp_everywinner.htm Tate Magazine (2002) feature, including statistical analysis]
* [http://www.channel4.com/player/v2/player.jsp?showId=3631 Live coverage of presentation of 2006 prize (starts with short ad)]


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