The 2010 Turner Prize: pretentious, controversial, or just art?

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The Independent Culture

Bosses of the annual, and much hyped, Turner Prize (remember Hirst's formaldehyde shark, or Emin's dishevelled bed?) made a right exhibtion of themseleves this week trying to ban bad publicity.

On Monday photographers from the nation's press refused to sign a form preventing them from publishing any images or words which would "result in any adverse publicity" for the exhibition.

To add insult to injury the protesting press were joined in boycott by the Stuckists - a group who traditionally protest against the prize along ideological lines, principally that it is a "pretentious and vacuous exhibit" which undermines the artistic medium.

Putting aside the virtues of press freedom, or a cultural witch hunt, depending on your point of view, what are we then saying about 'art'?

In a week which has seen the controversial 'a'-word, or more specifically the widely criticised 'T'-word, lauded as both an unquestionable entity exempt from critique, slander or opinion, and as a cultural philistine ruining art's good name, the debate rages on.

Click here on the image for the 2010 Turner Prize shortlist