Is it art? Or is it a cash cow? A gigantic waste of money? Or just a joke?
Every year the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery in London provokes controversy and amusement as well as serious debate about contemporary art. And this year is no different – column inches in papers across Britain are full of the details of this year’s entries for the prize (approximately 26,000 euros). The entries include the faces of gay porn stars glued onto outsize balloons, fragile “skittles” made of compressed coal-dust, an airoplane reduced to a puddle of grey dust, and a series of abstracts involving the extensive use of cows’ brains. Plenty to excite fans, plenty for detractors to deride. Says Helen Little, the Assistant Curator of Tate Britain, “One of the successes of the Turner Prize, which is in its 25th year now, is that it has generated a huge amount of interest in contemporary art and a huge amount of debate on contemporary art and that can only be a good thing.” Outside in the rain, a brave soul with a different view is Charles Thompson, a founder of the Stuckist Art Group. He says, “The Turner Prize is a kind of Mad Cow Disease product of the art world, if you want to put it that way. It’s a kind of delusion that has taken hold and in 50 years people will look back, just as we look back on a lot of Victorian art, and think, “it was fashionable but it has not lasted”. So, love it or hate it, once again the Turner Prize is stirring up passionate debate about modern art in Britain. For more information see: