Party of the Week: The fine art of Turner revelry
Friday 05 December 2008
Like it or loathe it, the Turner Prize is regarded as the sexiest art award of the year. So it's hardly surprising that the reception party in the glorious Duveen Galleries in Tate Britain saw showbiz glitterati and the art world's high priests and priestesses collide and confer.
Nick Cave, the skinny-jeaned Australian Bad Seed who had handed over the prize money to this year's ecstatic winner, Mark Leckey, brushed past Grayson Perry, a former Turner winner, who had characteristically come dressed as his female alter ego in a dress of Post-it notes illustrated with his own works.
Germaine Greer stood imperiously at one end of the hall, while Sir Nicholas Serota hugged Nicky Haslam warmly at the other and dismissed the bile visited upon the Turner every year. "It was conceived as a prize to raise public debate, which is what it continues to do," he said. Antony Gormley, another Turner laureate, was momentarily gripped by a huge sculpture which he gazed upon in awe.
A misty-eyed Mark Wallinger reflected on the terrors of this time last year, when he was handed his winning cheque by host Dennis Hopper. "I was nervous and don't remember much about the night. But then you would be nervous being handed a cheque by Dennis Hopper," he said. He was not the only one feeling nostalgic. Iwona Blazwick, director of Whitechapel Art Gallery, who shimmered in a glittering black dress, said the night brought back her time at the Tate when she oversaw the prize the year Tracey Emin and her bed were nominated. "I was gunning for her to win, if I'm honest, but it's not all about winning," she said.
Sure enough, few of the guests thought of winners and losers as they partied on. As ever, the Turner party is about so much more than the Turner Prize itself.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling