Assemble and the Turner Prize

I’ve been meaning to write this post since the Turner was announced. My previous post about Public Art has prompted me to get on with it!

I was excited by Assemble’s nomination for the Turner for Granby Four Street  ( see below) as it demonstrated a move away from gallery-based commodity art into art within the public domain. I’ve mentioned Assemble in a previous post ‘Giving credit where credit is due

IMG_9346Showing collaborative, community and participative practice which has been absent in the Turner before now apart from in 2010 when the Otolith Group were nominated.

Otolith are not a community/ participative group but one based on found documentation and documentary image  through  discursive collaborative practice .

Writing this has reminded of their fascinating but dense work.I must look again at their work….Very different from Assemble.

There has apparently been a lot of controversy about Assemble’s work..’not being (modern) art’....Even dear old Muriel Gray it seems…see this BBC report…..a long way from her open-mindedness in the days of ‘The Tube’!

I personally think it reflects the growth of interest in, if not the funding of, participative community-based art but with extra twists with, for me are where the controversy lies.

  • The gallery exhibition installation for the prize is based on the idea of a shop. It sells things that the project has made – at relatively reasonable prices.This challenges the ‘art market’ directly and also the idea of individual authorship as the objects for sale are made by the group- ‘artists and members of the community with whom they worked.
  • It considers  the concept of social space and everyday life .
  • The ‘artists’ leading the project are actually architects and designers – not “Fine Artists”. It was bad enough when it was awarded to Grayson Perry who refuses to call himself a ceramicist but is a potter.

To award the Prize to this group is then very controversial but well overdue.

As with Grayson Perry, and years ago in 2001 ( was it really that long ago..) with Martin Creed’s Lights Turning On and Off, I wonder, was the prize awarded because the winner really does address a Zeitgeist that a wider public are now aware of or was it awarded just to cause controversy…

I hope not the latter, but whatever the reason I’m excited by the win and looking forwards to seeing the impact, if any, on how art is perceived by a wider public.

And to discussing it with some of the community groups I work with.

Should be a lively discussion…and after all that’s what it’s all about!

Maybe it will inspire and lead to some exciting local collaborations………


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