Artist says sorry for 'insult' to Cilla Black

David Lister@davidlister1
Wednesday 08 January 2003 01:00

The Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing apologised last night for an "artwork" which consisted of the words: "Fuck Cilla Black."

Wearing had been invited to design the front cover of The Guardian's tabloid section yesterday. To illustrate an article on the new reality game shows, her front cover consisted merely of the three words in black felt tip pen surrounded by white space. The cover provoked more than 200 complaints.

Wearing said last night that she was a fan of both Cilla Black and her TV show, Blind Date. She said she was surprised by the number of protests about the cover and had thought most readers would interpret it as she had intended – a humorous take on the accompanying feature about how nasty TV entertainment had become.

"Even Blind Date had to become slightly nasty in its format to get the ratings, but it lost viewers. It was meant to be humorous. The cover is something you spend very little time on normally and I wanted it to be something quite simple.

"I thought people would laugh at it and not even look at it for long. It just shows you cannot predict what people will think," she said. "I am sorry if I have offended people."

Some complainants were offended by the use of bad language, while some took issue with the notion that Wearing's work might constitute art.

Wearing told the MediaGuardian website she did not know if it was a piece of art. It was one of several ideas she came up with after attending a morning's features conference at the newspaper. "Normally I have weeks or months to do a piece but this I had to do in a few hours. It's the quickest thing I have done in my life. "

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