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Paper Monitor

12:57 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's that time of year again - the grand finale of the Turner Prize.

Say what you will about the art, it reliably turns up an opportunity for spleen-venting columnists to, er, vent, er, spleen. And the deliciously vindictive descriptions are works of art in their own right.

First port of call is the Daily Mail. Oh.

turnerprizewinner_ap.jpgIts headline is: "Is this a Turner for the better?"

"Past winners have included an elephant dung painting, a shed transformed into a boat and then back into a shed, and a man dressed up as a bear. So this year's Turner Prize recipient came as a real surprise... Richard Wright, 49, created an elegant gold-leaf fresco with a heavy nod to the techniques of the old masters."

Well, his work is very pretty, all swirly patterns and delicate textures that will be painted over when the show closes. Which opens up a whole new avenue in the denigrating modern art stakes.

"Is it art or is it wallpaper?" asks the Independent.

"Controversialists must be in despair. The pile of atomised jet engine didn't scoop the Turner Prize after all, even though it had been favourite to win the famously contentious award."

If it is art, rather than wallpaper, it must mean something. But what?

The Indy's Michael Glover has a stab:

"Wright makes an art which alludes to the passing nature of life and the necessary impermanence of art... You could call his art minimalist. But it is also, for all its ethereal nature, luxurious in its way; a luxury that always threatens to pass away, and after a while does."

And for the Times? Its art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston tries - and fails - to predict the reaction of the nay-sayers:

"A graffiti artist has won this year's Turner Prize. It's the sort of announcement that would normally be expected to unleash a torrent of "call that art!" rants. But surely not this time?"

Well, she's right on that last point. Nay-sayers are not calling him a graffiti artist. Someone send for the Sun: "Artist Richard Wright bagged the Turner Prize last night for covering a gallery in a WALLPAPER pattern."

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Back to the Times, which quotes from one of the many supportive notes from the public posted outside the show:

"Richard Wright should win - refreshing attitude to marketability and mortality. I'd quite like him to do my living room too."

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