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Random Acts of Art
12.9.2002 by Dan, every Monday.


Well, it's that time of year again. A time of magic, a time of wonder on children's faces, a time where people of all ages, races, religions, and walks of life stare in awe and wonder and exclaim, “He won 20,000 pounds for what?!"

Yes, it's Turner Prize season. For those of you not ”avant-garde (French slang for “glaring dysfunction of the mind or personality), The Turner Prize is an award intended to support the arts by having the judges give a large cash prize to the most insane thing that they can uncover in Britain. This is saying a lot considering that England is the birthplace of blood sausage and steak-and-kidney pudding.

Conceptual artists are different from most artists. Where a traditional artist would paint, sculpt, carve, weld, and/or marinate something of beauty, conceptual artists have transcended such clumsy and inelegant forms of expression to a realm of pure social commentary, defined as ”an act incomprehensible to anyone but the conceptual artist.” A painter would flail about for several months making painting of the Virgin Mary; a conceptual artist would buy the painting, cut it up into little pieces, use it instead of toilet paper, then pack it into a crate and mail it to himself. He will often unwind afterwards by pursuing his hobby of putting on a dress, boarding the subway, and playing with himself while carrying on a loud conversation with his seat about how all calico cats are plotting to enslave humanity and make everyone drink root beer.

So every year, art snots scour the British art scene, looking high and low for something to nominate. These scouts have found in previous years such artistic gems as a dirty bed strewn with condoms, an empty room with lights that turn off and on every five seconds (last year's winner), the plot to a porn movie written on a giant canvas, a screwdriver rumored to have once been used by Winston Churchill, the oil pan for a 1957 Nash Rambler, ketchup, the Gregorian calendar year of 1926, a potted fern, Tangmonkey.com, the pancreas, and a hobo urinating on the back wall of a McDonald's. The hobo was disqualified when it was discovered that he was not a real conceptual artist, but merely dying a slow death of malnutrition. However, several conceptual artists are impatiently awaiting the hobo's death so they can disembowel his body and throw it into a school playground.

This year's winner, Keith Tyson, won by filling a giant black pillar with computers and claiming that it was a version of Rodin's “The Thinker,” which is a statue of a naked man pondering where he last saw his pants.

So if you're so insecure and vapid that you feel the need to stand around with a bunch of other emotionally crippled buddies, sipping sour wine and pretending that you understand these incomprehensible random acts of art so you can convince yourself that you're culturally superior to the unwashed masses, then the Turner Prize is your cup of dog's urine, and I've probably pissed you off. But be warned; the Turner Prize is typically awarded to the most incomprehensible expressions of hopeless, heart-breaking insanity the world can find. And my archives can be easily found through a simple Google search.

See you next year.




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