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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 11:01 GMT
Saatchi: Turner Prize is 'claptrap'
Fiona Banner's billboard and giant fullstop
Turner Prize entrant Fiona Banner's work is on display at the Tate
Champion of modern art Charles Saatchi has waded into the debate about the Turner Prize, calling this year's shortlist "pseudo-controversial rehashed claptrap".

The advertising tycoon, who famously paid 150,000 for artist Tracey Emin's unmade bed, dismissed the judges of the prestigious, yet controversial, art prize as "out of touch" in a newspaper interview.

Culture minister Kim Howells recently attacked the Turner Prize as "cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit" after visiting the exhibition at London's Tate gallery.

This year's nominees include a multi-coloured Perspex ceiling by Liam Gillick and a description of a pornographic film from Fiona Banner.

Charles Saatchi
Charles Saatchi owns thousands of pieces of modern art
Saatchi, 59, told the Sunday Telegraph he could not understand why work by brothers Dinos and Jake Chapman had been ignored.

He recently, bought one of the artists' creations, a sculpture featuring McDonald's food, for 1m.

Saatchi owns more than 2,000 pieces of art which he displays at his Saatchi Gallery in London.

Shock art

He is credited with making a star out British artist Damien Hirst, whose work includes the infamous sheep in formaldehyde.

Saatchi owns work by many Turner Prize winners and nominees but he is scathing about the direction the competition has taken.

Liam Gillick's exhibition
Gillick's work is made of coloured Perspex
The Chapman brothers have a reputation as shock artists with pieces such as a whole room full of glass cases in which 9,000 toy Nazi soldiers molest one another against a Holocaust backdrop adding to their notoriety.

"That is what great art should be," Saatchi said.

"Something that gives you real visual pleasure and makes you sit up and think, not the pseudo-controversial rehashed claptrap that Turner judges actually believe is cutting-edge art."

The winner of the Turner Prize, voted for by a panel of judges headed by Tate director Nicholas Serota, picks up a cheque for 20,000.

The prize winner will be announced on 8 December.


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