Organisers of the Turner Prize have set themselves their biggest test to date, with the decision to try and convince the North East of England that some crumpled up paper, cellophane and Vaseline is actually groundbreaking art.
The exhibits shortlisted for this year’s £25k prize will be displayed at the Baltic gallery in Gateshead, after it was decided that Londoners were so gullible they no longer presented a challenge.
Gallery director and member of the judging panel Godfrey Worsdale explains the decision to take the UK’s best loathed art prize to new audiences.
‘Traditionally the event has been held at the Tate in London, but it has got to the point where you can wave vaguely at almost anything, while spouting words ending with ‘ism’, and the audience will nod enthusiastically as if you’re making perfect sense. It's almost too easy.' said Mr Worsdale.
'Northerners are supposed to be more pragmatic and a bit less inclined to pretend they understand something while secretly suspecting it is complete and utter bollocks, so it should really push our creative waffling abilities to the limit.’
This will be only the second time in the 27-year history of the Turner Prize that it has been held outside of London, and the first time outside of a venue bearing the Tate brand, which has become synonymous with pretentious crap.
The previous occasion almost ended in disaster when the exhibits were stolen from Tate Liverpool in 2007. Luckily a neighbouring building was undergoing extensive renovation work at the time, and the art was replaced at the last minute with the contents of a skip, without anybody noticing.
Alongside the Vaseline-smeared, paper and cellophane sculpture, other works on the shortlist this year include an ‘installation piece’ consisting of a table, chair and a bin, and a really rather good painting of a council estate.
Organisers have ordered an urgent inquiry into how the work of an artist clearly displaying talent has found its way onto the list, and have not ruled out replacing the painting with a couple of breeze blocks and some bleach.