But is it Art?
The Turner Prize nominations are out today. It's very easy to be snobbish about the Turner Prize. So I will be: it's a horrible waste of time, effort, energy and money. Forty thousand pounds will be shared amongst the four hopefuls this year, more cash than the vast majority of the UK makes in a year. Now, I'm not one to sneer at modern art just because it's modern art; I'm one to sneer at it modern art if it's intrinsically crap.
For example, Damien Hirst stuffs various animals and mounts them in formaldehyde solution. Very decorative. But is it art? He says it is because it makes us think: "I am going to die and I want to live for ever. I can't escape the fact and I can't let go of the desire."[D. Hirst, 1995.] OK... but for me, films such as Reservoir Dogs and Bambi Meets Godzilla evoke pretty much the same awareness of death, albeit in a slightly less nebulous way - life is hard and then you die. Nobody calls either of them particularly 'artistic'.
Just for the record, here are some of the nominees' work:
Darren Almond: includes a video of himself talking about his grandmother, a picture of a big digital clock in front of a ship, and two aluminium bus stops. No comment.
Gillian Carnegie: paintings. So she's got no chance of winning then.
Jim Lambie: installation art, including a wardrobe painted pink with black spots and three canvases at jaunty angles with black and white stripes on. Think Legally Blonde meets those weird 'magic eye' pictures on a bigger scale.
Simon Starling: a bike supporting the canvas of a watercolour painting of a cactus. And a bit of sky painted on the ceiling. And a shed with a corregated iron roof. Again, no comment.
Call me a cynic, but a shed and someone whittering on about his granny isn't really art as far as I'm concerned. I hope, for the sake of sanity, that the paintings win, but somehow I doubt it'll happen...