Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Turner prize chumps

Each year, the Turner Prize is awarded for ‘an outstanding exhibition or other presentation’ of art. It’s named for the brilliant English painter JMW Turner, a bit of a visionary who was a genuinely gifted fellow when it came to wielding a paintbrush and putting a few splodges of colour down on canvas.

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?


  1. How about "Eat This!"
    Or "Malnutrition"
    Or "Force Fed"
    Or "Cruel and Unusual Punishment"
    Or "I'd Rather Go To Gitmo"
    Or "Journeys Through Indigestion"
    Or just "Blleeeeeuuuuurrrggghh"

    Posting as anonymous cos I can't make the bloody widget show my wordpress ID

  2. Degustation and Incarceration
    I can't make the widget work either!

  3. Oooops.
    Wordpress obviously...

  4. Just title it "NHS - Nasty Hospital Shite". We can then arrange an awayday to the gallery for all the leeches - sorry, hospital managers, chief execs, those in charge of catering and any other well paid bullying misfits (do I sound bitter?)- to view the stuff. Just make sure the Tate give their cleaners time off and hire in hospital cleaners for the period it is showing then there would be no fear of it being cleaned up by mistake. Actually the hospitals should hire the Tate cleaners. That might make our hospitals a damn sight cleaner!

    Rant over, off to work in the local filthy hospital with a staff canteen to be avoided.

    I've never tried the widget, I need to remain anonymous. I have only 577 days to retirement from my hospital job.

  5. Permutations - Peas, carrots, mash and Ingredient X.

    (not so sure about including ingredient X at the end, but i kinda like "permutations" as a title...)

  6. could you produce this as a postcard or poster? or a tee shirt (already soiled to look at) this might help provision of bagels and broadband.

    I'd buy em.

    title for art work - Visions of Peas


  7. Actually, these photos could make excellent elf’n’safety posters warning people of the dangers of taking risks or not exercising or dieting sensibly. I would love the T shirt.

  8. or "let there be peas"

    or "peas and queues" (for "way out")


  9. 'Breakfast on the Night Train to Jeddah.'

  10. Good morning TM

    Turner Prize - why not? or as George Clooney says "what else"?

    Like the idea of a t-shirt - how about place mats and fridge magnets - good for those on a diet??? One look at that and the idea of a tempting late night snack would be out of the window.

    Going to Selfridges later in the rain - let me know what virtual lunch you would like!

    Best regards Cats' Mother

  11. "N.H.S :The Endless Cycle Of Life And Death At £1.57 Per Day"

    ALan Douglas

  12. I second the title "Permutations".. it sounds highly myterious. You could then employ a jobless chef to wear the costume of a mad hare (out of Alice in Wonderland) and explain the installation to a photography of Beuys displayed in a silver gilded encasement. How do you like that? Best wishes from Styria - it's supposed to get very hot today, 27 or 28° Celsius. Barbara

  13. Turner Prize?
    Emperor and clothes come to mind.

  14. Turner Prize.... more like TURN YOUR STOMACH PRIZE

  15. The cruelest form of medicine is quite catchy


    Please sir, 'Can I have No More!'

  16. i keep picturing the scene from Clockwork Orange where Stanley has his eyes pinned open while forced to watch horrifying images. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/theater/clockworkorange_big.html Your entry could be a re-enactment of that scene using a hospital manager in traction, forced to watch the movie screen sized photos of your hospital meals on endless repeat. Would win you the prize and give you a great deal of satisfaction. Best title I can come up with Ït's Not Food, It's Orange".

    Take care Mr TM


  17. How about Desperation Diet?

    I have to smile at some of the adverts which pop up on the blog page - today I spotted one for dieting and one for bariatric beds - somehow I can't see you needing either Traction Man!

  18. Oh I love this, exactly my thoughts TM, from the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous, Emin's bed has to be the worst surely.

    Hang on to those food pictures, who knows, you could be the Turner prize winner next year, mind you, they could be too classy for this competition.

  19. If elephant dung paintings can win then so can NHS food! It's not going to win a culinary prize after all so go for it. Sadly I can't think of any smart names for it but I'll come back if I do.

  20. Since Tracy Emin just called her art-work(!) My Bed, how about My Food? Simple and to the point, and capable of all sorts of deep meanings for the intellectually-inclined.

  21. ... or you could try Food for Thought.

  22. the Conservatives are holding their annual conference in Manchester.

    See absolutely useless speech on NHS:


    No wonder nothing is happening. The English style of politics in general is much head-waving without any content.

    The first thing to change is to stop paying a lot of money to managers and heads of schools and hospitals. If they are motivated, they will do the job. Any high pay will not help them to do it better. It will just take away the funds needed to better the services.

  23. What about 'Sick'? Simple and to the point. No! Not pretentious enough.
    How about 'Upwardly mobile' then? Or 'Projectile vegetables'?

  24. Contempory Realisation Art Performed Flat Out On Dinnerplates

    Shorten to C.R.A.P F.O.O.D -
    Sure to be a show winner if a pissy bed and inside out house can win!!

  25. What about calling it 'Melange of blancmange - mange tout'.

    This is from clangie of Perth, Western Australia

  26. Or . .. ... Return to Sender.

    Did you see this report today TM, such quality photographs ;o)



  27. Some brilliant suggestions. Maybe we should have a poll.

  28. How about: Isn't it tempting .... to take the Peas out of the NHS?

  29. TM... how about the title " SSDD " ( same shit different day ) ?


  30. what about National Health Scurvey - surely, unless you are taking vitamin supplements you must be borderline suffering from this now on account of the fact that all your food has had any of these boiled and cook chilled out of them....

  31. Maybe even "The Lost suppers!" Lost somewhere between the farm and ward. Recreated and hey presto