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Paper Monitor

13:29 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's still a little early in the day to get all philosophical, but here's a question worth pondering over your lunchtime burrito: if a provocative art exhibition receives no coverage in the press was it ever provocative in the first place?

Paper Monitor is thinking about the Turner Prize, which, back in the day, used to have editors foaming at the mouth at its championing of installation art. Wot no watercolour landscapes of rural England was always the subtext.

These days, it seems as though the papers are all fulminated out.

Dailys Telegraph and Express don't even mention the unveiling of this year's shortlist. And the Daily Mail's indignation is relegated to page 28, and pretty lukewarm at that.

In fact its description of artist Dexter Dalwood's painting, The Death of David Kelly, is respectful in tone:

"Dalwood's paintings represent 'new visual testaments to well-known moments from recent history'"

There's a bit of sniggering elsewhere not least in the subheading - "Broken paintings and a woman who sings at Tesco" and a picture caption that asks "worth £25,000?". But its all fairly mild.

Maybe the outrage has instead been channelled against the Tate gallery's media relations team. The gallery had insisted that press photographers must sign a form guaranteeing their pictures would not be used in criticising the artworks.

Metro, making a rare appearance in Paper Monitor, quotes critic Brian Sewell on the matter, in which he wonders whether "organisers of the prize were 'prickly' about criticism 'because they are mocked about it year after year'".

Given the age-old maxim that no publicity is bad publicity and the dearth of column inches on the story today, the Tate can only be wishing that were the case.

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