AT TATE BRITAIN
Turner Prize winning artwork
Wallinger's installation State Britain is a recreation
of Brian Haw's protest site outside the Houses of Parliament.
Haw's site was full of placards, paintings and objects protesting
against the Iraq War. Police confiscated most of it because
it was inside a new protest exclusion zone around parliament.
The Tate issued a press release that half of the installation
was inside the 1 kilometre radius of the zone, which Wallinger
marked on the floor of the Tate with black tape. This made them
look a bit dangerous. However, in order to find out whether
we were likely to get arrested as terrorists for doing a demo
at the Turner Prize, we checked out the exclusion zone last
year. It took ten minutes with Google to get all the facts (see
white box below). We have every sympathy with the content of
Haw's demo (and staged a war
in Iraq protest show at the London Stuckism International
gallery along with a parallel one at the US Stuckism International
gallery), but the Tate should be more honest - as we've pointed
Foreign Policy 2000 by Stuckist artist Abby
Jackson as seen in Brian Haw's protest outside parliament
and confiscated by the police.
This is now included in
Britain by Mark Wallinger
at Tate Britain (15 Jan - 27 Aug 2007).
Serota sticks it up the Stuckists
nomination of Mark Wallinger for this year's Turner Prize with
State Britain presents a problem to the organisers. Wallinger's
piece, a recreation of Brian Haw's peace protest camp in Parliament
Square, includes in it a copy of the work of one Abby Jackson.
The painting in question, donated by Jackson to Haw, depicts
Blair as a dog on a lead and George W Bush as his master. Jackson,
however, is a member of the Stuckist group, which protests annually
against the Turner Prize, calling for a return to figurative
art. She says: 'State Britain is a true metaphor of conceptual
art, as it's fake. I feel that I and the other people who contributed
to Brian's display are the original artists.' Nicholas Serota,
director of the Tate Gallery, which commissioned Wallinger's
installation and nominated it for the prize, has described the
Stuckists' work as insufficiently 'original' for inclusion in
his gallery's collection. Ironic.
Tate rejects Stuckist donation.
exclusive post to this site (17.1.06):
If the originator of the Peace Camp outside Parliament had
gone to Tate Britain and said "Hey folks, I'd like to do
a duplicate of my deeply significant heartfelt installation
right here in your nice museum" - what would their answer have
been? Without a doubt, "Go away, you crazy old git." The installation
is there because Wallinger ranks as an A-list BritPop artist,
who has represented his country at the Venice Biennale. In other
words, this is just another episode in the history of official
art. Come home Lord Leighton, all is forgiven.
The question really is why are the Tate calling this 'art'?
If it is art, why don't they credit the guy who actually set
up his protest camp outside Parliament? What you see at the
Tate is his creation. Wallinger has had, as all the publicity
tells us, no creative input. All he has done is copy - the art-speak
term is, of course, 'appropriate'. I think the guy outside Parliament
should be paid a whopping fee for the use of his work. Another
case of a fat cat ripping off a starving thin cat. This is of
course not the first time this has happened - think of Damien
Hirst and "Hymn', or the Turner Prize contestant some years
back who copied an illustration from a Science Fiction book
cover and didn't acknowledge it.
WALLINGER EXPLAINS ALL!
metaphysics to the nation - I wish he would explain
his explanation." (Byron on Coleridge)
following are letters printed in The Guardian:
Apparently "Lawyers for the Tate pored over the Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act", worried because half
of Mark Wallinger's new installation State Britain lies
within the protest exclusion zone around parliament
(Report, January 16). Wallinger has even put black tape
on the floor of Tate to indicate exactly where the zone
ends and highlight the Tate's intrepid decision to stage
his show anyway. It would be rather more intrepid were
it not for the fact that the zone actually ends at Thorney
Street, 300 yards away, as clearly stipulated in the
relevant statutory instrument.
Charles Thomson Co-founder, The Stuckists
Charles Thomson (Letters, January 19) says my installation
State Britain lies beyond the boundary of the 1km exclusion
zone of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.
As the wall labels in the gallery clearly state, I took
the 1km exclusion zone of the act literally. The act
states that the zone "at no point ... may be more than
one kilometre in a straight line from the point nearest
to it in Parliament Square". This is the understanding
of the law as expressed by Judge Quentin Purdy on January
22 in his dismissal of the case brought by the police
against Brian Haw. The judge quoted this description
of the zone, which he also described as being "Orwellian".
It is this literal interpretation of the 1km point I
have emphasised by taping a line on the floor throughout
the galleries of Tate Britain.
In his reply to my letter, Mark Wallinger explains oxymoronically
that he has made a "literal interpretation" of a "1
km exclusion zone", which I have already shown does
not exist. I have nominated his text for the Plain English
Campaign's Golden Bull Award, given for the year's worst
examples of gobbledygook. The press release (dated 15
January) on the Tate web site clearly shows the organisers
believed that Wallinger's black line did in fact show
the area where unauthorised demonstrations were prohibited.
bar" letter in The Guardian but not online
Thank you for your emails. I have passed your nomination
on to the judges to be considered for a Golden Bull.
The judging for the awards will take place in October
and November, with the ceremony following in December.
I will contact you at the end of November to let you
know if it has won. Thank you for your support and letting
me know about the letter in the Guardian.
Best regards Dave Smith
Email from the
Plain English Campaign
that wasn't what Mark Wallinger said earlier!
"I suppose that was another clinching factor
in this Duveen commission it was the discovery that
the very edge of the circumference of the exclusion
zone runs through the centre of Tate Britain right through
the Octagon here and so therefore there's a taped line
through the work so that if I'm over here anything I
say can be taken down in evidence and used against me
and if I'm here I'm perfectly free to have my opinions."
Transcript on Tate site
here. Video here.
press release on State Britain here.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
Instrument 2005 No. 1537 (Designated Area) Order 2005
Police web site map
of the exclusion zone
Emily Hill references Stuckism on spiked-online.com