Turner Prize

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The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised art award. Although it represents all media, and painters have also won the prize, it has become associated primarily with conceptual art.

As of 2004, the monetary award was established at £40,000. There have been different sponsors, including Channel 4 television and Gordon's Gin. The prize is awarded by a distinguished celebrity: in 2006 this was Yoko Ono.

It is a controversial event, mainly for the exhibits, such as "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living", a shark in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst and "My Bed", a dishevelled bed by Tracey Emin. Controversy has also come from other directions, including a Culture Minister (Kim Howells) criticising exhibits, a guest of honour (Madonna) swearing, a prize judge (Lynn Barber) writing in the press, and a speech by Sir Nicholas Serota (about the purchase of a trustee's work).

The event has also regularly attracted demonstrations, notably the K Foundation and the Stuckists, as well as alternative prizes to assert different artistic values.


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