"The term artist isn't intelligible to me if it doesn't entail making."
I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. And what I don't like. Half a dead cow in formaldehyde
art - it's not even a meal - it's just a dead animal. Damien Hirst
is a talented man, but that will never be his finest hour. Tracey Emin
, on the other hand, is just mad. A dirty mattress covered in used condoms? Marvellous, award her the Turner Prize
This is one of the main problems with art, or at least, modern art, and probably the main reason most people think it's a load of pretentious bollocks. These "artists" foist this shite upon us and act as if we're the stupid ones for not understanding it. It's not art, Tracey, it's a dirty mattress. Change the fucking sheets. Sorry Damien, but that's not art either. It's a dead cow. You didn't create it, didn't draw it or sculpt it or whatever - you just sliced it in half and stuck it in a glass case. Now put it in the bin before it stinks the place out.
The Turner Prize is supposed to be a reward for outstanding art. The 2001 winner was Martin Creed. He got £20,000 for his masterwork, an empty room with the lights going on and off repeatedly. What? I mean, what? It's not even a bad painting or an ugly sculpture, it's just an empty room. The runners up: Mike Nelson, with a storeroom full of junk - titled, of course, Cosmic Legend of the Uroboros Serpent. Isaac Julien, whose film about gay cowboys in a swimming pool was involved in a legal battle with Julien's previous collaborator over who contributed the most towards it - although I'd keep quiet if I were them, in case Matt Stone and Trey Parker decide to sue (strong echoes of the South Park film festival movie about gay cowboys eating pudding). Richard Billingham, with a home video of his alcoholic dad waking up to a nice cup of tea. Last night I accidentally switched the bathroom light off as I went into it, because it was already on - I quickly switched it back on again, but nobody awarded me a prize. I keep meaning to clean out my old rubbish from my wardrobe, but am frankly puzzled at the lack of praise and media attention I am receiving for my "installation". And as for my home video of my girlfriend shitting on to a glass coffee table while I lie underneath masturbating, well, it hasn't even been shortlisted.
You know, I'm not totally against modern, abstract art, strange looking things, modern pieces - I love ideas that shake people up, break new ground, challenge the status quo, and good art can do all that and more. But Christ, if you're just going to embalm something or piss on your bed, you may as well give the Turner Prize to an undertaker, or someone who doesn't shower much. Many of the artists don't even build the things themselves, they just design it and hand it over to their team of engineers, who would deserve the award purely for their ingenuity in constructing the objects.
Why not give the prize to someone talented? Or at the very least, give it to a painter - you know, someone who uses paint on a canvas to make a picture that looks vaguely like something. Turner was a painter. Would he even get shortlisted now, without taking a photo of his arse and calling it "The End of the Beginning"?
A friend of mine, who went to art college, specialises in that weird kind of art where you paint pictures of things, or sculpt stuff. He's bloody good, too. At art college, he was the only one in his class who could actually draw or paint. He got the lowest marks in a project once, because - get this - they said his painting was "too representational". In other words, it looked too much like the actual object that he was painting. Fucking hell! And if that wasn't bad enough, the project of the year award went to a girl who had come up with the innovative idea of covering a deckchair in jam. I shit you not. I couldn't make this stuff up. It was actually a deckchair covered in jam. And that was project of the year. I don't know what flavour jam it was, but it must have been pretty fucking revolutionary.