OH dear! It's that time of year when it becomes necessary to complain about the annual insult to Britain's greatest painter, also known as the Turner Prize. There was hope that 2007 might mark a break with the established practice of giving the 25'000 pound prize to some inane conceptual work; the prize-giving had been moved from London Tate Gallery to Liverpool where there should be a better sense of value-for-money, but unfortunately nothing changed. The prize went to Mark Wallinger for his 75ft re-assembly of the illegal anti-Iraq war peace camp created by the peace protester Brian Haw in 2001 in London's Parliament Square. This was not displayed at Tate Liverpool because its bits and pieces had been dispersed so instead Mr Wallinger had been showing a video of himself dressed in a synthetic fur bear outfit wandering around the empty corridors of a Berlin art gallery. In the Turner Prize's handout this video was said to link Mr Wallinger to Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. It is perhaps the ultimate judgement on the emptiness and pointlessness of the Turner Prize that two newspapers gave different versions of its outcome this year, identifying different entries: The Independent showed pictures of the peace camp installation and the Times showed Mr Wallinger in his bear outfit. Neither mentioned the other. Not that it really mattered either way!
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