Quite how the art prize that bears his name managed to morph itself into a competition for adults who appear to have severe learning difficulties and delusions of adequacy is a mystery to me. For instance, previous entrants have included a transvestite potter, a woman who made a concrete cast of a house, and the irrepressible Tracey Emin.
Emin’s seminal work entitled ‘My Bed’ consisted of a double bed in a dishevelled state with stained sheets, surrounded by detritus such as soiled underwear, condoms, slippers and empty drink bottles. To be honest it sounds like half the teenage bedrooms in Britain, but this is the Turner Prize so it’s art. Incidentally, Miss Emin recently announced that she’s leaving Britain as a result of the new 50% higher tax rate coming into force next year. Driving this batty woman into exile is probably the most useful thing the current government has managed to achieve in years.
Each year the installations or works of art (and I use the term in its loosest sense here) from the shortlisted entrants are greeted with howls of derision by much of the general public. The pieces go on show at the Tate Modern in the run up to the judging as a procession of pretentious art and media types prostrate themselves in front these pieces of mediocrity.
I love the true story of what happened to an installation called Fat Corner by celebrated artist Joseph Beuys. The artist piled fat into the corner of an art gallery and then left the stuff to melt and turn rancid over a number of days. He didn’t work for a hospital food manufacturer but was a highly respected and celebrated modern artist. Thankfully a sensible member of staff with a mop had the good sense to clear the mess up and thus destroyed a valuable work of art with nothing more sophisticated than a good dose of Fairy Liquid and a bucket of hot water.
Like a lot of modern artists, Beuys must have been barking mad. He once covered his head with honey and gold leaf, wore one shoe with felt on its sole and another soled with iron and then walked through an art gallery for two hours, explaining the art hanging there to a dead hare that he was carrying. Now I’m no art critic but if that isn’t a display of complete mental breakdown then I don’t know what is.
Anyway, what’s all this art talk leading up to? Well, I was thinking that if these borderline nutcases can get away with it then so can I. Currently I’m saving up all my sloppy hospital food which I shall then lay out into an attractive matrix on the floor of one of the Tate Modern’s larger rooms. I can’t quite decide what I’m going to call my installation. I had thought of keeping the Hospital Food Bingo title but I don’t suppose the art critics would be drawn towards something with such a downmarket term as bingo in it. I think my installation needs a far more pretentious title if it’s to catch the judge’s eye.
Anyone got any good ideas?