Introduction Contents Search Paintings Essays Interviews Shows Enquiries Email
Turner Prize demos: NPG/Tate (2000) 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Other demos:
List of Stuckist demos Trafalgar Square (2001) White Cube (2002) Saatchi Gallery (2005)

Also on this site: TateSerota petition Stuckist donation Trustee scandal
On this page: Introduction Press Announcement Anti Turner Prize Prize
The first Stuckist demo, 28 November 2000

Charles Thomson, Stuckist Co-founder

Left to right: Red M & M costume: Ella Guru. Blue mask: Rachel Jordan. Brown hat/red nose: Elsa Dax. Brown shirt: Fanny. Straw hat: Philip Absolon. Silver tinsel: Katherine Gardner. Bunny ears: Michelle England. Cat woman: Charlotte Gavin. Dark glasses: Remy Noe. Blue tinsel: Susan Finlay. Black mask: Margaret Walsh. Flat cap: Matthew Robinson. 

Stuckist Clown Non-Demo, 28 November 2000, at Tate Britain, the day of the Turner Prize announcement. We were simply exercising our democratic right to visit a gallery we had paid for through our taxes in the attire of our choice - as confirmed by the Tate. 

We also took the opportunity to award the Anti Turner Prize Prize to the Art Clown of the Year for outstanding idiocy in the visual arts....The winner, announced by Margaret Walsh, Damien Hirst's godmother, was Charles Saatchi, and the prize was a pie to put in his own face. He also had to buy the pie as we forgot to get one. Other nominees were Sir Nicholas Serota, Norman Rosenthal (who's he?) and Sarah Kent (who's she?).

Billy Childish, Stuckist Co-founder, was due to participate in a Duchamp boiler suit, but was prevented by a bout of gastroenteritis. A month earlier, with Charles Thomson, he had leafleted the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Channel 4 Turner Prize party. More here.

back to top


Archives on the event can be found here and the Secret Diary of Ella Guru here

Evening Standard, Londoner's Diary (16.10.00): A preview of the demo "Send in the Clowns for Turner" was the lead story in the (and surprisingly survived throughout all five editions). It starts: "A devious plot has been hatched to make a laughing stock of next month's Turner Prize. The Stuckists ... claim the famous prize has become a 'national joke' thanks to the efforts of Tate Britain's director Sir Nicholas Serota." Charles Thomson, Stuckist Co-founder, is quoted that Turner did not pickle sheep and: "The Tate has become a circus run by clowns, the work exhibited in the Turner Prize is generally done by clowns so it makes sense to dress as clowns to look at it. Hundreds of our supporters will be there and we'll be handing out free clown masks, namely Sir Nicholas Serota face masks." The item finishes with a report on the Tate's official dress code, namely that gorilla suits and clowns costumes are quite acceptable, although nudity and underwear are not (unless presumably they are part of an art work).

Evening Standard (24.10.00): "For those seeking an antidote to the Tate's offerings, there is an exhibition entitled The Real Turner Prize Show 2000 at the Pure Gallery, Leonard Street, off City Road. It is the creation of a movement called the Stuckists, who believe the Turner Prize has become "an ongoing national joke, because of its pathetic and pretentious exhibits". The only artist who would not be in danger of winning the Turner Prize, they say, is Turner himself."

Barbara Schürenberg in Die Welt (6.11.00): "Die Stuckisten, eine Gruppe gar nicht einmal so schlechter Maler, die sich dem Realismus verschrieben haben, machen inzwischen eine Karriere daraus, die kommerziell ungleich erfolgreicheren Künstler der "Serota-Tendenz" zu verunglimpfen: "Die Tate ist ein Zirkus, der von Clowns geführt wird, und der Turner-Preis wird von Clowns gemacht. Deshalb verkleiden wir uns als Clowns und werden Clowns-Masken mit den Gesichtszügen von Nicholas Serota verteilen."

Evening Standard (24.11.00): Named the nominees for the Anti-Turner Prize, and quoted Damien Hirst's godmother, Margaret Walsh, who would announce the prize: "I think all this conceptual stuff lacks spirit - there's no intuition and no feeling in it. It's a load of rubbish. I'm not sure if Damien knows what I think but I have hinted my views in letters to him and anyway why should he care? He's raking it in with all that idiotic stuff." She added, "Seeing as I'm Damien's godmother I'm thinking of wearing a fairy godmother outfit."

The story about Margaret Walsh was also reported in the Birmingham Post (28.11.00).

Clown photo in article on the BBC web site here (28.11.00)

The demo was covered by BBC Newsroom SouthEast and London Life radio during the day.

Whilst presenting the Turner Prize show on Channel 4, Matthew Collings described the demo and commented, "Well done, Stuckists."

The Guardian page 3 headline on the prize was "Turner winner riles the Stuckists". (29.11.00)

The Art Clown of the Year award winner was announced in the Evening Standard to be Charles Saatchi. (29.11.00)

It was discussed by Angus Deayton and Matthew Collings on BBC's weekly satire Have I got news for you (video). (1.12.00)

The demo was featured at the start of Artvertising on Channel 4 TV. (4.5.01)

An E4 TV programme Nu Skool on two students for Stuckism, Susan Finlay and Katherine Gardner, showed them at the demo. (15.6.01) See the Daily Mail.

The art of Turner Protests (BBC) (31.10.02): "outside the ceremony, Stuckist demonstrators dressed in clown costumes protested that the prize no longer represented genuine art."

back to top

20 Years of the Turner Prize
broadcast by Channel 4 in 2003.
Charles Thomson interviewed here on the
Turner Prize/contemporary art.
The 2000 Stuckist Turner demo featured here

back to top



Ella Guru's diary entry here

It's run by clowns and exhibits work by clowns at the Turner Prize Show, so we're dressing as clowns to pay a visit to TATE BRITAIN (the old one at Millbank - Pimlico tube) NOON on TUESDAY 28 NOVEMBER.

The Turner Prize winner will be announced in the evening on this day. We will be announcing the winner of the ANTI TURNER PRIZE PRIZE for outstanding idiocy in the visual arts (see box below).

Please note this is not a demonstration in the normal meaning. This is simply the exercise of ones right to visit the gallery which one has paid for, in the attire of ones choice. We have a written statement from the Tate Gallery that the following is permissable dress for admission:

suit and tie, trainers, jeans, T-shirt, sports clothing, barrister's wig and gown, Napoleonic military uniform, gorilla suit, clown costume.

It should be noted that the following is NOT permissable wear: naked, swimming costume, underwear.

To gain admission to Tate Britain in your clown costume, YOUR FACE MUST BE RECOGNIZABLE - ie do not wear heavy clown make-up. Masks must be removed on entry. (We suggest then wearing them on the back of your head and walking backwards.)

We WILL be turning up dressed in clowns and will be visiting the TURNER PRIZE SHOW dressed accordingly. Show what you feel by joining us in Sir Nicholas Serota's Circus - as the Tate is now to be known.

Please tell your friends and get designing those costumes now.


back to top

Also known as The Art Clown of the Year

For outstanding idiocy in the visual arts. This is open to curators, academics, critics and artists.

Nominations may be made at the Real Turner Prize Show 2000, Pure Gallery (see above) or www.superhumanism.com by noon on 12 November. The shortlist of four will be announced on 14 November in the Press. The winner will be announced on the steps of Tate Britain (the old one) noon, Tuesday 28 November, which coincidentally happens to be the day of the announcement of the Tate's Turner Prize winner. It is also 'dress clown' day at the Tate (see above).

The prize is a custard pie for the winner to push into their face, which they should be used to doing, although we are quite willing to do it for them if they prefer.

The Jury consists of:

Billy Childish (Artist, Co-founder, Stuckism)
Joe Crompton (Artistic Director superHUMANism)
David Lee (editor, The Jackdaw visual arts journal)
Emily Ovenden (Director, Academy Arts)
Graham Ovenden (Artist, founder member, The Ruralists)
Charles Thomson (Artist, Co-founder, Stuckism)

All of these people have had years of experience at detecting bullshit.

back to top