Friday, October 28, 2011

Turner Prize Finalists 2011

It's Turner Prize time in Britain. This year's winner hasn't been announced yet, but the four finalist are known.

As the link above notes, the prize is given for recently completed works usually in the postmodern Concept Art genre. Examples of finalists' work are shown below.


What to Ask for Others - Karla Black - 2011

A Library of Leaves - Martin Boyce

Man - Hilary Lloyd - 2010

The Resurface - George Shaw - 2011

I'm not sure why Shaw's painting made the grade. That's because (1) it's an actual painting and (2) there isn't much concept to it. I suppose the concept part is that he focuses on drab, commonplace subject-matter that a viewer is supposed (I assume) to read meaning into.

Black seems to be following the Marcel Duchamp path of designating whatever the self-proclaimed artists designates as art. Lloyd's piece is projected images, possibly video, though I can't rule out the positioning of the projectors as part of the Installation. Boyce's work can be considered some kind of sculpture.

The works of the latter three are the usual grist that can be found in the Tate Modern. I don't consider most of it art.

My problem is that the term "art" has been watered down (Duchamp's legacy) to the point where anything can be called "art." But if anything runs the risk of being "art," then art is nothing special and the term becomes meaningless.

Something created by a human being that pleases the eye might be considered art; this removes art a step from the proclaimed "art" by the self-proclaimed "artist" noted above. I'm willing to accept this as small-"a" art which this blog deals with it a fair amount.

Then there's capital-"A" Art which I define for the purpose of this post as the traditional Fine Arts.

Turner Prize art mostly falls in the first and (to some extent) second categories just mentioned. Sad to say for the Turnerites, such art has little likely long-term future in the sense that viewers a century from now probably will be less able to grasp the Concepts than the average viewer-in-the-street can today.

I find the Turner Prize both sad and silly. Its main worth is that it demonstrates how far Establishment art has fallen as modernism continues its aimless course.


dearieme said...

The best thing about the Tate Modern is the view from the coffee bar, back over the wobbly bridge to St Paul's. Proper art, that is, as in Commodity, Firmness and Delight.

Journeyman said...

Art like philosophy reflects the society that produces it, this art is a product of the current British society.
PS This years Turner Prize exhibition will be at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

Dan in Philly said...

Is it possible that art is no longer as profound as art lovers think it is, or would like it to be?

Since we have reached an age that expression of truth is easier than in times past, art's traditional role of shining the spotlight on a concept has been taken away from it. Art is not dead, it is worse than dead, it is irrelevant.

As a result, any art which attempts to be both profound and relevant winds up being less profound and less relevant than other mediums of expression. Why ponder the expression of an old lady in a painting when you can see thousands of pictures of real old ladies with real, not contrived, expressions on their faces?

And so since art cannot say anything profound or relevant, it instead strives to say something striking or novel. I cannot give up on art's ability to someday find its voice and once again be relevant, but I cannot say these examples say anything at all to me.

Anonymous said...

the current British society (effete dhimmis & chavs)