Crowds flock to Turner Prize show

Queues outside the Baltic Queues have stretched outside the Baltic gallery

Almost 25,000 people have visited the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead in five days to see works by this year's Turner Prize nominees.

Art-lovers have been waiting for up to an hour in queues stretching out of the venue and along the quayside.

This is the first time the annual exhibition of the nominees' art has taken place outside a Tate gallery.

Between 2000-09, the three-month Turner Prize exhibitions attracted an average of 80,000 visitors.

The Baltic exhibition is free, whereas the Tate Britain in London, which is traditionally the prize's home, has charged for entry.

The nominees' exhibition has been held outside London once before, at Tate Liverpool in 2007. That show was also free and attracted 71,800 people over three months.

The Baltic's deputy director Claire Byers said it had been "an extraordinary five days".

"We have been thrilled by the public response and despite the visitors having to queue, the majority are very upbeat and equally delighted to have the Turner Prize exhibition here in Gateshead," she said.

A total of 24,420 people visited the gallery between Friday, when the exhibition opened, and Tuesday.

Once inside, visitors can see works by George Shaw, who paints landscapes of a council estate; Karla Black, who uses materials including cellophane, bath bombs and moisturising cream; sculptor Martin Boyce; and film and video artist Hilary Lloyd.

The winner, who gets a £25,000 cheque, will be announced at the venue on 5 December. The exhibition runs until 8 January.

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