2012 Turner Prize

Punk Rock lasted maybe four or five years but Punk Art seems to be never ending. What is it? Twenty eight years of the Turner Prize?

Twenty eight years of nothing very much and an awful lot of awfulness.

I have said it before and I will say it again-

When Picasso died in 1973 it was as if a line had been drawn under the visual arts with the implicit message- follow that!

And we have been unable to do so. Over the subsequent four decades the art world has been floundering, looking for the next big thing and finding nothing of substance.

So off we go again and here is Sofia Karamani, curator at the Tate Britain, explaining why Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Paul Noble and Elizabeth Price made the shortlist for 2012 Turner Prize.

And if you can sit through that without losing the will to live I congratulate you on your fortitude (the advert at the beginning made more sense).

Oh, I can’t be bothered to rant about this nonsense. I’ve done it before here here here and most recently here so it is better to let others do it-

In 2002, Culture Minister (and former art student) 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.”

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. It would be like pursuing the ideas in Snatch or Essex Boys .

Today’s art is a kind of hell, one Blake could never have imagined, even though he seems to have imagined everything – a multitude of vivid hells and heavens.

Matthew Collings writing in The Observer, Sunday 22 October 2000

“The Turner prize, I’m afraid, has decayed into a total disgrace. It’s a soggy, flaccid, in-group exercise in an art world that has run out of steam. You’re given a tour of hell and it’s as Milton predicted, ‘in the lowest deep a lower deep’.

Robert Hughes interviewed by The Guardian

And here is David Lee’s latest diatribe against this annual farce in the current issue of The Jackdaw

Also writing in the current issue of The Jackdaw, Michael Paraskos says-

“The terrible truth about Art in Britain is that it is in such an infantile state we dare not even talk about quality any more. Instead we have to justify almost everything we see in contemporary art spaces in terms of personal taste, opinion and other spurious subjective factors.”

Just as multicultural has come to mean that all cultures, however repulsive we may find some of them, are equally valid so now all opinions are equally valid. My opinion on art is no more or less valid than your opinion and vice versa. My opinion of the current state of British art is no more or less valid than that of Sir Nicholas Serota.

Which begs the question: why is he the director of the Tate Gallery and not me?ย ย  Clearly, if all opinions are equally valid then he is no more (or less) qualified for the job than I am.

Which brings up another question. Who appointed him? And why?

This is a very serious issue if you think about it. Is he there because he knows all about art or is he there because he knows the ‘right’ people?

As my father used to say, many years ago, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters”

Not that I am suggesting for one moment that Sir Nicholas is not the best man for the job, as it is obvious to one and all that he is.

I’m just asking….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile Charles Thomson of The Stuckists offered to donate his portrait of Serota to the Tate.

The offer was declined.

If he’d any sense of humour he’d have accepted and displayed their most famous image of him, called Sir Nicholas Serota makes an Acquisition. It shows him smiling maniacally behind a large pair of red knickers on a washing line, asking himself:

“Is it a genuine Emin (ยฃ10,000) or a worthless fake?”

“Were the knickers clean?”


“Then I guess they couldn’t be authentic.”

Ruth Dudley Edwards

At least the Russians know how to put on a contemporary Art Show with their ะั€ั…ัั‚ะพัะฝะธะต 2012

The bouncy forest path in this video looks like great fun!!

6 comments for “2012 Turner Prize

  1. December 4, 2012 at 06:03

    Absolutely, JD. This blog’s stance against humbug naturally includes the Turner Prize and it’s true value – a pair of Tracey Emin’s encrusted knickers.

  2. ivan
    December 4, 2012 at 10:31

    The Mail had an article about the ‘Turnip’ prize, a spoof of the turner prize, and although they invited comments they didn’t post any. I jnow they had at least two, both saying that the ‘art in the turnip prize would be much better than the turner prize.

  3. December 4, 2012 at 16:22

    “When Picasso died in 1973 it was as if a line had been drawn under the visual arts with the implicit message- follow that!” I extend that feeling to music too JD, maybe different date and names, but same sentiment.

    I’ve often said to the husband: “all the best paintings have already been painted, best music composed, best songs written. That’s it! Maybe these feelings about “the new” are common to all generations as they aged, all just part of the human condition?

  4. December 5, 2012 at 00:18

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Monitory greed/power leads to people thinking that outward appearances are beautiful.

    Interesting ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. December 5, 2012 at 00:50

    My old mum told me back in 1974 that Modern Art was all bollox, she wasn’t wrong though I have since learned that it was all a KGB plot designed to unsettle the general population and lead to disquiet. “WTF is that?” when looking at a ‘work’ by that old fraud Henry Moore, for example.
    Even the name of Jackson Pollock is just taking the piss really,

  6. December 8, 2012 at 12:05

    maybe theres a Picasso in UK somewhere. ignored because he isn’t doing more meaningful things like sticking blu-tac to the wall, or pickling farm animals. could be, as the Tate Directors running it like a private specialist gallery.

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