pressmen performance and photography

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Turner prize controversial?

CNN reports,"LONDON, England (Reuters) -- German-born artist Tomma Abts on Monday became the first woman painter to land the Turner Prize in the 22-year history of one of the art world's most controversial awards.

The abstract painter, who has lived in London for the past 12 years, received the 25,000 pound ($49,500) award from Yoko Ono and said afterwards in a subdued acceptance speech: "Thank you so so much. It is a real honor to receive this prize."

Critics lauded the Kiel-born artist with art writer Meredith Etherington-Smith telling Reuters: "They are very subtle -- it is like looking at a drawing by an Old Master. They put me in mind of a 16th century miniaturist."

Mark Rappolt, editor of ArtReview, agreed: "They are very small works with a lot going on in them. They are open to many different approaches."

But there were dissenting voices too.

Charles Thomson, who heads the Stuckist Movement that stages demonstrations every year against the Turner, said of Abts "Her work deserves a prize for vacuous drabness. It looks like doodles done by a lobotomized computer." Sculptor Rebecca Warren had been hot favorite to land the prize with her collection of neon-lit boxes full of fluff and twigs.

But much of the pre-prize publicity centered on Phil Collins who set up an exhibit featuring a real-life office full of researchers wanting to interview people forever scarred by their appearances on Reality TV shows."

The comments by charles thomson did make me smile. I have not seen the exhibition so I can't comment on the work. I did read an article about the reality TV exhibit. I don't know how good this piece is but I liked the idea of questioning this ongoing phenomena and with it the celebrity culture that appears to be everywhere in the media and in peoples everyday conversations. Celebrity,identity and whether you are somebody are part of the way the media works. It moves faster thav ever and there are great political changes happenning as well. In terms of photography we see the pressures photojournalists are under with deadlines and the need for sensational and dramatic photos. we have seen how this can translate into a lack of professional conduct. This has yet to be addressed by the major media outlets except superficially.
Art has at times been at the forefront of questioning society. It does not feel as if that is happenning these days. Too many artists happy to be famous and pick up loads of dosh. So is the Turner prize controversial. I think not.

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