Still Fighting for the Turner Prize

Anish Kapoor Who won the award in 1991said in an interview that he welcomed the Turner Prize’s political spin in the context of a “money-obsessed” art world.

“I dare to think of it as an anticapitalist movement in miniature,” Kapoor said, adding that all candidates were “very clear that their agenda is a social one, that art can make profound and real psychic change.”

Such arguments seem hollow to long-term critics of the Turner Prize. Michael Sandle, who describes himself as a “radical traditionalist” and was never nominated for the award, said: “It’s all well and good to have these views that are probably true – but where is the bloody art?”

“This is what I want to see, expressed strongly through an artist,” he said: The organizers of the award should stop trying to “ride any fashionable bandwagon.”

But Iwona Blazwick, artistic director of the London museum Whitechapel Gallery, says that working together doesn’t mean breaking away from the past. “A hundred years ago the avant-garde was defined by groups,” he said. “The jury was absolutely right in admitting that this was a very strong artistic impulse. That doesn’t mean we’ll never see a painting award or a single practitioner.”

But even some of the nominated artists criticized Tate for trying to build his credibility by embracing social justice tendencies. In May, just days after BOSS’s candidacy was announced, The group posted a message on Instagram accuses arts institutions of “exploitative practices in award culture”. “Black, brown, working-class, disabled, queer bodies are desirable, quickly dismissed, but never sustainably cared for,” the statement added to the award organizers.

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