Monday, September 29, 2008

Perhaps it was too hot

Yes, I know I am a bit of fine-arts Philistine, so I shall quote a few sentences from the BBC's report of the Turner Prize competition w/o further comment:

The exhibition's curator, Sophie O'Brien, told the BBC it was a "really exciting" year for the prestigious, and often controversial, prize.

She said: "The Turner Prize is about showing things that are intriguing and surprising and interesting."

Wilkes' work features a supermarket checkout, and a female mannequin perched on a toilet with a bowl with left-over bits of dried porridge at her feet.

Last year Mark Wallinger, the artist whose work includes dressing up as a bear, took the prize for his replica of Brian Haw's anti-war protest in Parliament Square.

And from The Times:

One of them, Cathy Wilkes, 42, is a Glaswegian who gathered together a television, a sink with a single human hair and a pram and titled it She's Pregnant Again when she represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

This time, she has placed a mannequin on a lavatory next to two supermarket check-out counters. Four horse-shoes and bits of discarded wood dangle from wires attached to the mannequin's head. They appear to bear no relevance to the check-out counters on which the artist has arranged bowls and spoons, as well as empty jars with the remnants of food. Scattered across the floor are piles of tiles and broken pottery in a plastic bag.

And, after all, what need is there to comment? What can one say after, "Four horse-shoes and bits of discarded wood dangle from wires attached to the mannequin's head"?

From the same genre is Ron Silliman's praise of The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (, which includes the following passage.

Or Tim Atkins’ “Sonnet 20”:

in jet-streams, jet-streams

Certainly a sonnet is possible in which these words fall in these places. Yet is not clear if anything, in fact, is missing.

It's a passage which rings perfectly true, as long as human intelligence never intervenes.

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