Party of the Week: The fine art of Turner revelry

Arifa Akbar
Friday 05 December 2008 01:00
Comments

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in