Has the Turner found its limits?
The Turner prize has acquired a reputation for controversy and grabbing the headlines. From Damien Hirst's shark, to Chris Ofili's use of elephant dung and Tracey Emin's unmade bed, it has been a tabloid editor's dream target for more than a decade.
And for Tate, shooting down contemporary art was part of the game: it got great publicity and people went to see the exhibition. This year, Tate at least is holding onto the same line, that its comment room shows that thousands of people are engaging with the Turner and contemporary art generally.
However, this year's shortlist is short on energy and long on theory, which makes it one the tabloids at least, can happily ignore. The Turner Prize has played an important role in our cultural life: bringing artists to public attention, who would otherwise just be beavering away in their studios, is a sign of critical engagement.
This year's shortlist includes three women: Runa Islam from Bangladesh; Goshka Macuga from Poland and Cathy Wilkes from Scotland, and the sole male: Mark Leckey. There are several video installations and some works, which you may be tempted to walk past without feeling you've seen any at all.
I thought that about some of Goshka Macuga's installation - two of the pieces resembled a place I could have left my bike. The installation is looking at the relationships between two twentieth century modernist couples: British surrealists Paul Nash and Eileen Agar, and German architect Mies van der Rohe and designer Lily Reich. If artists were acting as curators, this would be interesting, but art that does not speak for itself, that needs to be explained is difficult for those who are interested in art, but don't have an MA from Goldsmiths.
So, is the prize dead in the water, or just keeping its head afloat for another year? This year, whoever wins, perhaps there should be an acknowledgement that there is a problem with the unwritten rule that an artist should not appear on the shortlist more than twice.
In any generation, there are surely only a handful of brilliant artists and most of them have won it already and those who haven't, have been shortlisted twice or fall outside the under fifty years of age requirement. Is there a limit to cutting edge, and have we reached it?