The Penultimate Turner before the Turner comes to Derry.....
So the Turner shortlist for 2012 has been announced. A performance artist who renamed herself Spartacus, Paul Noble, who has created a fictional city inhabited by figures made of human excrement, Elizabeth Price, who makes sci-fi-inspired videos and Luke Fowler, who has made three films about psychiatrist RD Laing.
The prize, given to an artist under the age of 50 and with a £25,000 prize, is already famed for its controversy, with annual regular attacks asking is it art?
The Times' Rachel Campbell Johnston on BBC Radio Ulster's Arts Extra tonight says that it's a "shortlist for a world that feels that things have gone rather wrong.....it has a mad rather vaudevillian feel, like there's been a kind of take over by the clowns". So even she's a bit worried about where the Turner is going this year.
While this isn't the shortlist for Derry, and we won't know who the shortlisted four are until this time next year, I'm enjoying playing around with the notion of Lali "Spartacus" Chetwynd doing a Jabba the Hut style performance piece in Ebrington. Ebrington is still the preferred site for hosting the Turner exhibition next October, only the third time to be outside of the Tate, after Liverpool and Gateshead, but locally I am hearing mounting concerns about the ability of the site to sustain not only a major art exhibition, but deal with the anticipated crowds. Some say that the ambition to bring the Turner to Derry hasn't been matched - yet - with the scale, the drama, the sheer, overwhelming Turner-ness of what the prize is about.
The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, a purpose built visual arts space, was preparing for the Turner for over two years. With a year to go to Derry, there appears to be no plan. I know there are hopes that by the middle of this month there will be a plan in action and a curatorial team on the ground to start the process. That's the shock at the moment. Not the art, which for the Turner is ironic.
The Turner Prize 2012 exhibition will be at Tate Britain, 20 October 2012 – 20 January 2013. The winner will be announced live on Channel 4 on 3 December 2012