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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Turner Prize shortlist: How do you see it?
The 2002 shortlist for the provocative Turner Prize has been unveiled.
This year's nominees - Fiona Banner, Liam Gillick, Keith Tyson and Catherine Yass - were chosen by a jury headed by Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota.
The prize is intended to stir up discussion of the contemporary British art world, and this year's artists are known for a wide range of work including sculpture, photography, three-dimensional installations, graphics and sound.
Entrants for the £20,000 prize have to be British, under 50 years old and have presented an "outstanding exhibition" in the last year.
Madonna awarded last year's prize to Martin Creed for his conceptual piece which consisted of an empty space with the light going on and off.
The four nominees will put on an exhibition at Tate Britain in London from 30 October.
How do you see it? Is this what you expect British modern art to be? Who would you have shortlisted? Are the nominees a good sample of young British artists?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Here today, gone tomorrow...
This years selection looks very promising. The few works that I have seen (so far) suggest it to be one of the best Turners for some years. There is much here to provoke! It does sadden me that some critics seem unable to mentally explore the installations, instead complaining about the lack of depictional 'paintings'.
Dean W, UK
Being great at something is the ability to have ability that surpasses all others. No one could paint a finer landscape than Constable, no one could capture life like Van Gogh. In this sense I fail to see the achievement or brilliance in modern art. Anyone can display a cow in chlorahyde, or thousands of bottle tops on equilateral shelving - so where is the skill? The focus of the Turner prize has shifted from rewarding ability to rewarding conceptual ideas, which is a great shame as many of today's classical artists are simply disregarded.
I am a member of the general public, who, according to the art 'experts', is narrow minded and too conventional in my perception of what art is. I am very willing to learn. Would one of the experts please tell me the artistic value, and what I should be looking for in a room with the light going on and off. Please, enlighten me.
Paul T Horgan, UK
My children don't like custard. The fact that they have never tasted custard is immaterial. It's bound to be awful, because most of the kids in the playground say so. It's not necessary to actually try it to know you hate it. The same is clearly true for modern art as far as many of the contributors to this forum are concerned. I suspect that most of them will not have seen the work of any of the finalists, but that doesn't matter. They know they hate it because it's not a nice safe representationalist landscape or still life.
The purpose of the Turner prize is to confront these views head on, and to cause debate about art. Clearly it is achieving it's remit. I hope Catherine Vass wins.
Maybe I just don't get modern art, but I visited Tate Modern the other week and was amazed by the utter rubbish on exhibition there. The entries in the Turner prize seem to reflect the fact that absolutely anything can be termed as "art" if the creator is pretentious enough...
I agree that some modern works have as much right as any to be considered art - the problem is many of the artists entering for the Turner prize seem at a loss to explain their work. Given that the oft touted argument for modern art is that expression takes many forms, if the artist can't explain himself, the value of his work must be in question.
As a professional craftsman, trained by traditional apprenticeship, what really saddens me is the lost opportunities for making real quality works. All that money, that the skilless 'artists' of the type that get this prize absorb and waste. Had the wealthy like the Saatchis patronised the county's skilled craftsmen there would have been a chance of maintaining ancient hand working skills, and a worthwhile legacy for the future. I am probably in the last generation of my craft. Which is no loss to me, I could almost earn more stacking shelves, but once gone it is too late and all you will be left with is these Turner 'artists'. I hope you still find their work attractive in the decades and centuries to come.
All of these so-called artists are always banging on about the importance of expression but as soon as people express negative opinions about the Turner Prize such as on Talking Point they get the hump! Most artists live in poverty because their work is rubbish... Try getting a proper job and making a contribution to society.... Give me Tony Hart and the Gallery any day!
Edd Almond, UK
The Turner Prize manages to reflect perfectly the poverty of imagination and skill present in the art world. Conceptual art has shown itself to be a dead end. It is only proper that it should be taken to task as showing no skill or craft on the part of the artist.
I think they should give a prize to Emmanuel Asare. He was the janitor at London's Eyestorm gallery who threw out a Damien Hirst piece, mistaking it for some trash left over after a party. I think it was a perfectly understandable error.
The gush surrounding the Turner Prize candidates' "art" over the years reminds me of the Tony Hancock film, The Rebel where similar sorts of people classed him as a master in the infantile school of art. He couldn't paint of course. Watch this film - it's a great antidote to what you will see and hear over the next week or so.
Love it or hate it - I'd rather have a world with the Turner Prize in it any day! Oh, and the "piles of bricks" that several people here have mentioned has nothing to do with the Turner Prize - that was a work purchased by the Tate by artist Carl Andre. As someone stated, the first to criticise are those with the least amount of informed opinion. Please get the facts straight at least, before criticizing all artists as idiots and charlatans!
Sorry, I've just come out of extended hibernation, could somebody explain in simple language why this stuff is art?
Emperor's new clothes syndrome. Simple as that. Talentless dross. Why are there no painters in the shortlist? Says it all really.
Why is Turner's name associated with fringe art? Wouldn't Lonnie Donnigan be better in respect of his artistic hit: My old man's a dustman?
The words "Pig" and "Breakfast" leap to mind.
Here we go. The same old tired tirades on how modern art is not art, or that it's simply "rubbish". Grow up, there are more ways to communicate and express in art than a painting.
True, many people who comment about the Turner Prize haven't got a clue about art. Their perception of what art should be is narrow and simplistic. But the same applies to many of those who advocate contemporary art; their views are just as limited and provincial. I would like to see everyone be a bit more open minded and less elitist. Try to appreciate quality in art irrespective of style, medium, fashion, or cultural and social origin.
The Turner Prize is great, but please be a bit more relaxed about it (both those who like it and those who don't).
They've stirred a reaction - that's what it's all about; it's got you talking about it! However, where's the painting - same old story, aren't we moving away from the 'Turner' element?
P. Abbott, UK
The list looks OK...but where are the artists?
Oh, my mistake, this isn't an art competition is it??
I think its time for a Wilde quote: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Let the Turner Prize do its thing.
To think I've spent all these years painting, sculpting, etc and all I really needed to do was move to the UK and not tidy up my bed in the morning to make a living...
It's all highly entertaining and entertainers consider themselves artists. (Well, I think it's one of the best comedy shows around).
Mind you, some of the prices that seem to be paid for some of this work seems to me to be totally daft. I am so glad that the people who pay for this stuff do not use their money to sponsor music. Can you imagine what it will sound like? Ouch!!!
Robert Simpson, UK
I find Liam Gillick's work difficult to understand. I think I get the idea that he is providing spaces for human interaction but don't get why the works take the particular form they do. There's an exhibition on at the Whitechapel at the moment, most of which looks like the decorations in the cafeteria in Lewis's in Glasgow circa 1973. Catherine Yass' work is very beautiful. The photographs are projected on lightboxes like X-rays in a hospital and don't come over well in reproduction. I hope she wins.
The Turner Prize is about a small group of self-elected artists discussing a taste for bizarre novelties amongst themselves, with the chattering classes looking on in the hope of bathing in the glamour of this staggering display of intellectual power. I feel it is very unkind to laugh at the Turner Prize and that it is best to humour these good people who take it seriously.
From the photos, the Turner entries seem better this year, in that at least some effort and skill by the artists seem to have gone into creating them. At least, I assume the artists actually created them, I remember several years ago a zig zagged brick wall being exhibited as art. I remember thinking "Well, at least it's a well-built wall" and then discovered that it was actually built by four builders, not even the artist him/herself! That was just taking the Mick, in my opinion.
Utter tripe! Enough said.
Steve James , UK
Too much of contemporary "art" is little more than simple-minded pranks which require no skill or imagination, except in the fanciful interpretations and significances attributed to them by critics and other "artists". Devoid of any content or complexity, such works deserve the contempt that they receive from the public, for they are objects of little enduring value which, in reaction to the banality of modern life, offer only more shallowness.
This is hilarious. I just love the way the 'jury' takes this rubbish so seriously. I bet Martin Creed (last year's winner) is still laughing now.
It surprises me that if "months of research and work" have gone into these exhibits, nobody saw that the word "Fascist" is spelt wrongly in Fiona Banner's "Concrete Poetry".
Rather tame and un-controversial this year don't you think ?
The Turner Prize has become less of an award for art, and more of an award for outrageous self-promotion by the so-called "artists", who just milk the system for every penny they can get. The sponsors, sadly, seem only too willing to allow themselves to be duped by these con-men and women. I realise that art means different things to different people - but some of the trash we've seen in recent years beggars belief.
Art is what we make it. It's an expression of emotions and life experience. As an artist myself, sitting at an easel for hours painting a detailed landscape does nothing for me. Art today captures moments of inspiration - it is much more striking and the reality and frequent mundanity of the work of artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst demonstrates the essence of life in the 21st century... it is an abstract struggle and yet through this we find inspiration and exhilaration. The Turner Prize honours the artists who lay bare their emotions and who are honest about the way they see the world today.
To EJ - I have rarely read such a fine piece of navel-examing waffle. I suggest you get out more.
I don't know who pays for the Turner Prize and I can't understand why anyone would
pay money to encourage the sort of daft stuff
we have seen in the past: piles of bricks and
unmade beds. I only hope the UK
taxpayer isn't paying for it.
I'm going to enter Linda's comment as art for next year's Turner Prize.
I agree with Linda, does this mean that my desk here at work could be entered into the Turner Prize, it is covered by paper randomly scattered around and a PC... Pure art, I think not. Doesn't anyone paint flower and fruit any more?
Sami Knight, England
Does Sami really admire someone who spent "months even years of research" to come up with unmade bed? In that case my teenage daughter has a permanent exhibition in her room matching the best of British contemporary art. And she wants to squander her talent and study physics!
Asking the general population what they think of the Turner Prize nominees makes as much sense as asking them what they think of the Nobel Prize nominees for physics. People love to bash the Turner Prize because it represents a world they know little of and care nothing for. They will offer bemused criticism because they want to demean it and devalue it because they don't understand it. They have a very narrow perception of art. No doubt there's a mass of pretence in the modern art world, but why worry about it? The Turner Prize has no less value than the corrupt Oscars or the British honours system; it's not as if either of those is determined on merit.
As it's early days as yet no one has seen the nominees exhibits but don't you think there should be two categories; one for serious artists and one for 'others'? Therefore avoiding dross or should I say plain rubbish!
Surely the point of the avant-garde is that it challenges habits of perception: whether that means it shocks, puzzles or even angers. As illustrated by the Modernist movement of the early Twentieth Century, what shocks us today becomes the canon of the future.
Seems to be much ado about nothing?
I think its a fantastic opportunity to promote our British artists to the rest of the world. The Turner Prize has a huge impact on perception of modern art. I think the nominations this year are fantastic, and show a broad range of talent and the medium they work in. People do not understand modern art most of the time and it's an opportunity to have a look behind the art at the concept.
Only a very select highly intelligent and educated coterie can appreciate this very fine art. To others it merely seems like charlatans are hoodwinking the name of art to peddle rubbish.
Quite frankly, who cares who wins? The only people who might be remotely interested are the entrants, the jury, and a small crowd of self-proclaimed 'experts' in modern art. Oh, and people like Madonna who are dumb enough to go out and buy this rubbish. For the rest of the UK, the Turner Prize is just a short news story at the end of the 'real' news in which we get to see some self-satisfied weirdo getting 20 grand for piling bricks on top of each other, turning off the lights or forgetting to make their bed.
The list looks OK but where are the painters?
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