Turner Prize launch greeted with protests

The UK's most prestigious - and controversial - modern art award was launched today amid protests by photographers and artists alike.









The launch of the Turner Prize at Tate Britain in central London was initially boycotted by photographers after they were asked to sign a form which said they could not publish any images or words which would "result in any adverse publicity" for the Tate.



There was also a separate protest outside the gallery by a group of artists, calling themselves The Stuckists, who said the shortlisted work was "pretentious and vacuous".



One of the contenders for the prize, described as "one of the most prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe", is a recording of three separate versions of a traditional folk song by Glasgow-born artist Susan Philipsz.



It is the first time a sound installation has been shortlisted.



The artist has recorded three versions of the song, which tells the tale of a man drowned at sea who returns to tell his lover of his death.



Curator Katherine Stout said it was a "very physical" work.



She said: "It plays upon the otherwise emptiness of the gallery."



It is joined by other works including a painting of the scene where scientist David Kelly died, a collection of broken canvasses laid on top of each other and a series of films.



Dexter Dalwood, Angela de la Cruz and The Otolith Group are the other artists in the running for the £25,000 main award.



The shortlisted artists will receive £5,000 each.



Also among the works on display are a coffin-like black box filled with old paintings and a series of televisions showing a 1989 Channel 4 series about the legacy of ancient Greece.



The two-hour stand-off with the photographers ended when the Tate allowed them to attend the launch without signing the form and said it would be reviewed before further events.



Brian Sewell, art critic for the Evening Standard, said the organisers of the prize were "prickly" about criticism.



He said: "They are prickly about the Turner Prize because they are mocked about it year after year.



"Most of the art that gets into the Turner Prize is some kind of extremely contemporary rubbish - assemblies of rubbish masquerading under important names."



The prize has had its share of adverse publicity in the past.



In 1999, artist Tracey Emin was shortlisted for her work My Bed, which featured an unmade bed complete with stained sheets.



The resulting row saw then-culture secretary Chris Smith criticise the jury for deliberately selecting "shock" installations.



Other selections from the exhibition which have drawn controversy included Vong Phaophanit's Neon Rice Field - the piece featuring mounds of rice in straight lines covering neon lights was heavily jeered in 1993.



Martin Creed's prize-winning installation The Lights Going On and Off was widely ridiculed in 2001.



In 2002, former Culture Minister Kim Howells called the entries "cold, mechanical bullshit".



The pieces that year included Fiona Banner's hand-written Wordscape describing a pornographic film and Liam Gillick's Perspex suspended ceiling, which gave the feeling of light coming through a stained glass window in the gallery.



The following year a sexually explicit sculpture of blow-up dolls shown alongside a series of altered Goya prints by brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman triggered controversy.



The prize was set up in 1984 to "promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art" and is open to British artists under the age of 50.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones