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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Madonna to present Turner prize
Mike Nelson's mixed media work The Coral Reef 2000
Mike Nelson's mixed media work The Coral Reef 2000
Pop diva Madonna is to present this year's Turner art prize at London's Tate Britain gallery on 9 December.

A Tate Britain spokesman told BBC News Online that the gallery had approached the star about doing the honours at the event, and that she had now accepted.

The singer, who is known for her love of art, will no doubt enjoy the controversy the prize often attracts, being no stranger to the limelight herself.

Madonna is expected to make a statement about presenting the prize at a later date.

Madonna
Madonna: A fan of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo
This will not be her first contact with the Tate - she has previously attended a special rededication ceremony for Tate Britain in March 2000 after the opening of its sister gallery Tate Modern.

After the ceremony she spent about an hour at the gallery with her husband Guy Richie.

In April of this year the singer, 43, also agreed to lend a work to the Tate Modern.

She loaned the gallery Self-Portrait with Monkey, by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, for the surrealist exhibition Surrealism: Desire Unbound, which is running until 1 January 2002.

Tate Modern
Tate Modern: Borrowed a work from Madonna's collection
The painting, which depicts Kahlo with a monkey round her neck, had not been seen by the public for a decade.

The decision to loan the picture only came after several weeks of negotiation.

Jennifer Mundy, curator of the Tate Modern exhibition, said: "Clearly something about this show persuaded Madonna to lend."

Controversy

The Turner Prize was established in 1984 and offers a prize of 20,000 to a "British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work".

The shortlist for the prize is often seen to have favoured avant-garde, outlandish and daring work - and usually produces controversy.

This year's shortlist - of Richard Billingham, Martin Creed, Isaac Julien and Mike Nelson - was criticised for including no women artists.

See also:

30 May 01 | Arts
Don't worry, it's Blu-tac
24 Apr 01 | Music
'Huge interest' in Madonna gig
30 Mar 01 | Music
Madonna plans world tour
12 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Morton to write Madonna biography
03 Apr 01 | Arts
Tate leads museum boom
02 Apr 01 | Arts
Tate team wins major award
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