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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: Tate Serota petition Stuckist donation Trustee scandal
On this page: Turner Prize demo and Turner Prize 2005
5 December 2005
There was a Stuckist demo outside the Turner Prize
about the Tate's purchase of its serving trustee
Chris Ofili's work, The Upper Room

The Turner Prize was won by Simon Starling who managed the stupendous feat of converting a shed into a boat, floating it down a river and then turning it back into a shed again. Charles Thomson's comment was carried in the press:
"The Turner should be renamed the B&Q DIY prize."

Times | Independent | Telegraph | Guardian Also: Evening Standard | Yahoo | Artnet | Anorak | Bloomberg | Reuters | CNN International | Australia: Yahoo | SBS | Sydney Morning Herald | The Age | ABC | Seven | Australian | New Zealand: TVNZ | Stuff | Canada: CBC | USA: NY Arts Magazine (6.12.05)

+ Toronto Life (Feb 2008): "Anti-conceptualist Stuckist Charles Thomson said it best: 'Starling should get his craft badge, first class, but not the Turner Prize.' "

Evening Standard quotes Stuckists naming Turner the 'B&Q DIY' Prize, & converts B&Q shed to a boat (7.12.05)
And yet another shedboat in the Mirror this time (9.12.05).

Stuart Jeffries on Stuckists values in ShedBoatShed article in Guardian (7.12.05)

Stuckist view on Simon Starling cited in Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2007. See note 5 here (pdf).

From Artists and Their Studios by Eamonn McCabe (Author), Michael McNay (Editor), page 126. Publisher: Angela Patchell Books (19 Jun 2008). ISBN-10: 1906245061, ISBN-13: 978-1906245061:
"His 2005 Turner Prize-winning piece, Shedboatshed, is typical of his approach to conceptual art, tinged by environmentalism and even, in the gibe of the pro-painting Stuckist, Charles Thomson, B&Q DIY."

The Channel 4 TV programme on the Turner Prize showed this web site's criticisms of the judges interpretation of Gillian Carnegie's work. David Lammy, Culture Minister, presented the Turner Prize live on Channel 4 television and said, "Every year, the Turner Prize makes contemporary art the talk of the airwaves ... Stuckists threaten never to paint again." This has slightly missed the point, but full marks for making the effort. (In 2003 Peter Blake mentioned he had been invited to join the Stuckists demonstration, before awarding the prize to Grayson Perry.)

Stuckist demo with cutout of Tate Chairman, Paul Myners, outside Turner Prize (5.12.05)
The image on the "Resign" placard is a painting of Paul Myners, Tate Chairman, by Mark D.
Left to right: John Bourne, Jacqueline Jones, Remy Noe.

Stuckist demo with cutout of Tate Chairman, Paul Myners, outside Turner Prize (5.12.05)
Left to right: Joe Machine, Remy Noe, John Bourne, Jacqueline Jones, Jiri Hauschka, Daniel Pincham-Phipps.

"I am laughing at your superior interlec"

Cutout of Tate Chairman, Paul Myners

Stuckist demo outside Turner Prize (5.12.05)
Right: Jacqueline Jones

Stuckist demo outside Turner Prize. The appeal raised two pounds, two pence and a button (5.12.05)
Left to right: Peter Murphy, Emily Strange, Fraser Kee Scott

More photos of demo on Getty and Film Magic, including Isabella Blow with the Stuckists


Sir Nicholas Serota stopped by the demonstration in the morning and seemed somewhat amused to see the cardboard cut-out of Tate Chairman, Paul Myners, on display, commenting, " I see you've got Paul this year." It seems he had not realised the protest was directed at the Tate's purchase of its trustee Chris Ofili's work The Upper Room, rather than at the Turner Prize, until John Bourne handed him a protest leaflet (text below left).

Charles Thomson said, "I thought, 'Whoops, I don't think this is the most tactful thing to do.' Serota stood there with the leaflet in his hands, his eyes fixated on it for an extraordinarily long time. He had enough time to read it twenty times over. He didn't move and nor did anyone else, and his face grew taut, with an occasional tic. He looked as if this was the last straw after a very bad few months over the Ofili affair, and the atmosphere became extremely tense. That was the context for my quote in The Observer: 'I thought he was going to explode. I looked at his face and I thought, this guy's going to lose it and hit me, or he's going to burst into tears.' No one wanted an ugly scene, so we just waited it out, and Serota recovered remarkably, speaking to me about the purchase in a very restrained way, but underneath it was obvious he was upset and angry.

"The press reported that in the evening at the Turner Prize presentation he stood up and made a speech about The Upper Room. Andrew Marr in The Telegraph (2nd item, 7.12.05) said of Serota, 'his image, however, is ascetic and intellectual rather than passionate. So it was unusual, possibly unprecedented, for him to break into an angry defence of Ofili and the purchasing decision.' I think the encounter we had precipitated this. The speech wasn't a rational action: it not only undermined the focus on the prize, but it revived the issue in the press, which had exhausted it by then."

After the demo, Bourne wrote a letter to Serota, saying it was not our intention or wish to cause personal upset, but that we felt it right to state our point of view on matters. Serota replied that he appreciated the letter.

Last year the Tate gallery said it did not have enough money for new purchases and asked artists to donate work. Tate trustee Chris Ofili supported this in the national press.

This year the Tate was forced to admit under the Freedom of Information Act that it had at the same time been making a secret fund-raising drive to buy Mr Ofili's work The Upper Room for 705,000.

The Tate Director is Sir Nicholas Serota.
The Tate Chairman is Paul Myners CBE.

Mr Myners is also Chairman of Marks & Spencer, Aspen Insurance and Guardian Media Group, and a Director of the Bank of England and the Bank of NY.

Mr Myners has said, "Empires, religions and monarchies have all collapsed where there has been a lack of openness. It is a form of soft corruption which encourages an outcry against them."

Text of the leaflet handed out at the demo. A copy given to Sir Nicholas Serota is now in the Tate archive.

The Hypocrisy of Myners
, painting by Mark D used on a demo placard
Stuckist demo preview in the Independent on Sunday (27.11.05) and the Daily Telegraph (3.12.05)
Emily Strange (aka Emily Mann) was on the demo and has just joined The Client (NME article here)

See Charles Thomson, Stuckist Co-founder, on nominee Jim Lambie and Turner Prize on 'Judge For Yourself' video on Tate website (link under pic of nice old lady) -
"I think the artist is probably trying to find a new medium to explore, to do something that other people haven't done, but the trouble is that so many things have been done, that what is left to be done gets less and less interesting all the time."

Update 2008: unfortunately the Tate, as the preserver of contemporary art history for future generations, no longer has this online. The archived page can be found here. The video link is at "Judge For Yourself: video".
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See Today's Painting: Reaction or Revolution? on LA artist Mark Vallen's blog spot.
This features a commentary by Stuckist co-founder Charles Thomson:

Stuckism and the Revival of Painting in the Art Establishment

Guy Denning (Bristol Stuckists) and Charles Thomson on Guardian blog 18.10.05 (scroll to bottom)
Charles Thomson letter in The Guardian 22.10.05

How come representational painter Gillian Carnegie is in the cutting edge conceptual Turner Prize?

When is a bog standard painting of flowers in a vase not a bog standard painting of flowers in a vase?

Apparently when it's been nominated for the Turner Prize. According to
"Art is money-sexy-social-climbing-fantastic!" Turner Prize jurist Louisa Buck "What look like conventional paintings are anything but. They are actually conceptually rich; they interrogate painting; they make us think about how and why we look at it."

Karen Wright, the editor of Modern Painters magazine, puts it much more sensibly: "She works in traditional genres - landscape, still life, portraits - but what she does is unload and reload them."

But Barry Schwabsky, in Artforum magazine is the man with real insight: "Carnegie turns back toward the fusty hues of old pictures rotting beneath their own varnish, not to reclaim some former solidity but all the better to verify her forms' ultimate evanescence."

So now you know. If you want your painting in the Turner Prize you have to verify your forms' ultimate evanescence. But you could try loading and unloading them or getting them to do a bit of interrogation for a start.

(Quotes from The Independent 5.5.05, Marcus Field)

Now the Tate gets in on the act officially: "while apparently following the conventions of representational painting, Carnegie challenges its established languages and unsettles its assumptions...... In other works, Carnegie capitalises on the tension between subject and medium, her brush strokes both affirming and contradicting what they depict." Obviously their curators don't get out much or they'd realise that what they've described is the staple of contemporary painterly figurative painting, as seen at the Royal Academy Summer Show and the Mall Galleries for the last few decades (even down to the dense woodland scene). More self-delusion from the Tate here.

Isabella Blow (1958-2007)

Isabella Blow talks to Emily Mann and Fraser Kee Scott during the 2005 Stuckist Turner Prize demo.

I had the great pleasure to spend a little time with Isabella Blow. I was protesting with the Stuckists outside the Turner Prize at the Tate in 2005. We were collecting for a joke fund for the trustees of the Tate which highlighted how so often being a trustee of the Tate leads to the Tate buying your work (and actually was part of the campaign that brought the Offili scandal to the world). So apart from raising 2p and half a button, Isabella Blow was the only person to actually give any money - she opened her purse and gave the last 2 she had. I got to talking with her there at the entrance to the Tate and later when she came out for a cigarette and she opened up to me and Emily Strange (aka Mann), the guitarist from pop band Client and Make me a Supermodel star, who was with me.

We told Isabella about the goings on at the Tate and she said that she also had had some nasty experiences with big business and that she was stressed. About 4 months later, I got a message on my mobile from Isabella asking my help. She had remembered me from all that time ago as someone who had offered her help. She told me she was in hospital and she needed someone to sort out her office affairs and she wondered if I could find someone for her. I called and texted her a lot asking how I could help, but the most I got back was a text from her in hospital saying she was feeling awful. Then the phone was switched off and eventually disconnected.

- Fraser Kee Scott, A Gallery, Wimbledon.

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