Satire on Turner Prize backfires- Library of Mu
Satire on Turner Prize backfires
By Susannah Herbert (24 November, 1993, Daily Telegraph)
The artist Rachel Whiteread was voted the best - and worst - artist
of the year yesterday in two contrasting ceremonies whose convergence
at the Tate Gallery last night bordered on farce, writes Susannah
Herbert, Arts Correspondent.
The jury of the Turner Prize awarded Ms Whiteread u20,000 for
making "a very positive contribution to the debate about the place of art in
society". But its praise was upstaged by the antics of the K
Foundation, which named her the worst artist on the Turner Prize shortlist
The K Foundation award - if its advertising is to be believed -
is worth u40,000. The K Foundation, a mysterious orginisation set up
by pop group KLF to satirise the Turner Prize asked members of the
public to vote on its award. "We got 3,563 votes and Rachel Whiteread won
with a clear majority," a spokeswoman said yesterday. The Foundation, which
announced its winner in a advertising break on Channel Four last night,
seemed to hope that Ms Whiteread would be too offended to accept the
It underestimated her, however. Ms Whiteread, whose work with
casts of everyday objects - mattresses, bathtubs, even an entire house - has
been praised for questioning art's relationship to reality, was ready to
"take the money and run" said Mr Karsten Schubert, whose gallery
The gallery issued a statement which said: "As it is not a prize
with whose aims Rachel Whiteread is prepared to associate herself, she
has decided that, in the event of her actually being paid the u40,000,
it will be distributed to 10 individual artists in financial need."
Ms. Whiteread, 30, is the first woman to win the Turner Prize,
which was established in 1984. The judges praised her work for "exploring
such themes as memory, death, community, isolation, homelessness".
Since its inception the prize been attacked for promoting abstract
and avant garde at the expense of more traditional art.
Last night's alternative award started with a convoy of limousines
outside a Kensington hotel and culminated with a presentation on the
steps of the Tate.
[ *Radio 4 midnight news bulletin reported this slightly differently:
that the K.Foundation said in a confrontation on the steps of the Tate
that if Ms.Whiteread didn't take the money they would burn it, thus
she was forced to take the money. ]
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