Turnip Prize: The less aloof alternative to Turner Prize awarded to 'crap' art

Finalists include 'Hung like a Donkey', an animal pendant hanging from rope, and 'A Roll in the Hay', a bread roll in farmyard bedding

Josh Barrie
Sunday 06 December 2015 23:54
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Pat McGroin’s ‘Hung like a Donkey’
Pat McGroin’s ‘Hung like a Donkey’

Fans of modern art will be excited to hear who has won the Turner Prize later today – but those who scoff at its pretensions will also be catered for when the 2015 Turnip Prize is awarded to a “crap” artist at a pub in Somerset this evening.

This year’s finalists include Pat McGroin’s “Hung like a Donkey”, an animal pendant hanging from a silver rope, and “A Roll in the Hay” by Imogen Crees, which is a small white bread roll placed in a pile of farmyard bedding.

Conceived over beers in a Somerset village in 1999, the Turnip Prize received more than 65 entries this year – two from as far afield as the US.

Organiser Trevor Prideaux, 54, said he and a handful of friends were moved to set up the competition, a spoof of the Turner, after seeing Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” and deciding it entirely ridiculous in concept and design.

“We thought, well, if this is art than we can come up with better s*** art than that,” Mr Prideaux told The Independent. “We called for people to send us work – crap art using the least amount of effort possible. It started as a local thing but has gone international.” The prize will be awarded at The New Inn pub in Wedmore, and this year’s six finalists have created an eclectic mix of pun-based pieces.

Making up the final six are “Danger Mouse”, a computer mouse with a hazardous aesthetic; “Staple Diet”, which is a metal staple on a paper plate; a not particularly clean bit of slate entitled “A Clean Slate” and “Dismal And”, a wooden block with a drawing of an “&” symbol looking mournful. Mr Prideaux, a beer salesman, remarked: “I think this year’s finalists are outstanding. I love them. The entries never cease to make me laugh. The puns are always fantastic; really funny. It started off as one big piss-up. It still is. But it’s quite popular. Nicolas Cage, Sandi Toksvig, and Banksy have all expressed an interest in the past.”

Imogen Crees’ ‘Roll in the Hay’

Mr Prideaux added that he doesn’t really follow the Turner Prize, despite it being the inspiration for his artistic invention – but he described Nicole Wermers’ “Infrastruktur”, which many have tipped to prevail, as sounding like “posh staples”.

Unlike its more serious counterpart, the Turnip Prize doesn’t come with any monetary reward. Instead, the winner is awarded a turnip on a rusty nail. The vegetable is provided by the previous year’s victor.

Some critics have tipped Pat McGroin’s “Hung like a Donkey” to be a front-runner – but Mr Prideaux said reports that Mr McGroin had already been declared the winner were premature.

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