Sleeper isn't a great work, but that's not what he won for. He won for: 'State Britain', which is easily one of the most powerful works of the last few years tohave won the prize that is increasingly becoming a laughing stock amongst the British public. The disbanding of Britain's ability to protest near to Westminster was one of the more dangerous acts of the Blair administration as it sets a worrying precedent for political dissidence on home soil: it is great to be reminded of that fact.
It's not a con: artists don't sit there thinking: 'you know what, how the hell can I rip someone off this year?'. He makes works because he believes that they have genuine artistic value: it isn't his fault that he is part of an industry that deliberately overvalues most work, especially if it has a decent name attached to it.
An artist simply works within the value that the wider industry places upon it. This is defined by the seller and the buyer, not the artist themselves. The artist makes the art, it is up to somebody else to price it up and sell it.
Oh its a shile of pite allright...at least state Britain had something to say, even if it was 'the bleeding obvious'
I'm old fashioned I guess, but art should be a great deal more than fashionable empheral trivia, novelty and glib shock dressed up in meaningless obscurantist propaganda for the massaging of mutual ego's
Surely the test of great art is in power to endure and engage repeat veiwing, listening or experiencing...the fascination to absorb the deeper meaning or complexity should be within the work.... by this definition most modern works are lamentable failures
Call me an old fashioned stick in the mud if you will, [whole caff shouts "old fashioned stick in the mud"!], but I reckon if you can't do the following, you can't call yourself an 'artist'.
1) Paint a realistic tree against a scenic background
2) Draw a realistic sheep's skull
3) Skin a goat and nail its b0ll0cks to a tree trunk, an display them in a glass box whilst wearing a kilt and whistling the benny hill theme in front of an invited audience of fashionistas and punk-midgets, calling it an anit-Bush and anti-war protest.
I'll agree with Gary on this one. It is ok to support the ideas and aims of the artist but if it doesn't work it doesn't work. These things - as often the case - need the environment of a 'gallery'. (And I know that sort of thing was prevalent in the time of "R.Mutt" and Carl André (The Tate Gallery bricks)etc etc...)
Sadly, it will always, for a very marginal and limited audience, capture the headlines for all the wrong reasons. You're right about the patrons Sam - perhaps next year's winner will be an exhibition of all the ridiculous cheques being scribbled by patrons in search of the "Emperor's New Clothes..."
One of the best, sorry one of the only books to attempt to unify the knowledge of science art culture and society is John Barrows 'The Artful universe' I read it in 1995 and an expanded version has came out since which includes a few more chapters