Turner Prize 2011

This blog is generally content to focus on events after and through their mediatisation, though once in a while it is fascinating to arrive early on the scene. The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize was announced this morning and, as I write, there has not yet been an article posted about it on any of the major British news websites. Enjoy this while it lasts: the aesthetically retrograde backlash that arises each time a shortlist is announced inevitably overwhelms any real discussion of the artistic merit of each contender. I wrote about that this time last year, however, and my feelings are still much the same.

So, the four participants in this year’s show, which will agreeably open at the Baltic are as follows:

Karla Black

Karla Black, installation at Modern Art Oxford, 2009

Martin Boyce

Martin Boyce, ‘Our love Is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours’, 2002

Hilary Lloyd

Hilary Lloyd, Photograph from Cubitt ‘Print Box’

and George Shaw (no, not that one)

George Shaw, ‘Almost Lost (1)’ (2007)

It should, at the least, be a good show. Boyce and Black, Scotland’s representatives in Venice for two successive Biennales, seem like no-brainers, at least from an Edinburgh-centric point of view, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long for them to make the cut, especially in Boyce’s case. Their work is keyed into what a lot of younger artists are gravitating towards in their practices at the moment: eccentric abstraction, architectural intervention, industrial and/or informal aesthetics. They do it well, moreover. I know less about the latter two, though George Shaw’s council-estate realism doesn’t seem terribly difficult to get to grips with. Lloyd, the one video artist on the shortlist, is the only real enigma, and it would be a treat if her work could offer something surprising. But my money’s on Boyce. Can I make it 2 in 2?

by Luke Healey

p.s. As I post, people in the twitter-sphere are waking up to the news and launching their predictable “I should submit…” quips. I think this one, from @Documentally, sounds awesome:

“How about u’r #TurnerPrize entry this year is get a Starfish & a Spider to fight in a glass box & then make it an iPad game?”

To which @fellowcreative’s reply is:

“20th Century Spider in one box, 21st Century Starfish in the other”


2 responses to “Turner Prize 2011

  1. Yeah, I think Boyce is favourite. GLASGOW is getting quite the monopoly over this prize.

    My feeling about George Shaw is that, as you say, it doesn’t take that much to get a handle on. But would his ‘council house realism’ make for a fresh and dynamic Turner Prize winner? I’m not so sure.

    No doubt the major tabloid face-palming will be centred, unfairly, around Karla Black.

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