Monday, May 23, 2011

A Look at the Turner Prize 2011 Shortlist

My, my, how time flies! It feels like only yesterday that I was glued to my computer screen anxiously awaiting the announcement of the 2010 Turner Prize winner. My money (figuratively speaking, anyway) was on Angela De La Cruz, who I found a refreshing yet challenging artist – thoughtful, but still retaining the spunky, performative elements of the Gutai group, along with solemn introspection due to her unfortunate stroke-induced disability.
Alas, she didn't win; Susan Phillipsz won for her well-made, haunting sound sculpture.
The nominees for this year have already been announced, and I already found my favorite.
And the nominees are:
Karla Black

Black's medium of baby pink sugar paper, hair gel and vaseline recall the ephemeral materials used by Eva Hesse and the haphazard construction of Lynda Benglis. The name of the work, “Wish List” brings up questions of gender and social norms – are these girlish vanity items de rigueur for anyone who wishes to dress up like/become a woman?
Hilary Lloyd

“Crane” takes a page out of media artist Nam June Paik’s book, and places it in an otherwise prim and austere white-on-white hallway.“Column”, with its numbing repetition is reminiscient of Andy Warhol’s “Empire” film, but is also sharp enough to see a comparison to Pier-Paolo Calzolari’s “Untitled (Zerorose)”, which was released six years later.

Martin Boyce

“No Reflections” hearkens back to the earth works of Robert Smithson and capitalize on cubist geometric abstractions. The part of the installation which hangs down from the ceiling reminds me of Maurizio Cattelan’s “Novecento”, though without the visceral life/death connotations it undoubtedly brought to the fore.

George Shaw

Finally, there’s George Shaw, my favorite this year. Shaw paints eerie, photorealistic renderings of the detached urban settings we've all found ourselves in while slouching pensively. His “Poet’s Day” (pictured above) was so beautiful, yet so psychologically wrenching, that I could barely bring myself to look at any of the other work in the ArtInfo slide show the first time I read up on the shortlist nominees.
The 2009 Turner Prize went to an abstract site-specific painting by Richard Wright, before that German artist Tomma Abts was honored for her part Frank Stella, part Bridget Riley abstract paintings in 2006.
I think realism is a bit overdue for representation by the Turner Prize powers that be. So, until December 5th, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Shaw!

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I love to read about linguistics, behavioral economics, theory and philosophy. I listen to music some might call outdated, write satirical and high testosterone plays, consume too much caffeine and ruthlessly defend modern and contemporary art.