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Turner demos Stuckists rejected



2007 Turner Prize winning artwork

Mark 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 out before.

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
State Britain by Mark Wallinger
at Tate Britain (15 Jan - 27 Aug 2007).

The Observer (20.5.07)

Serota sticks it up the Stuckists
The 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.
See also: Tate rejects Stuckist donation.

Edward Lucie-Smith
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.

"Explaining metaphysics to the nation - I wish he would explain his explanation." (Byron on Coleridge)

The following are letters printed in The Guardian:

January 19, 2007
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
In The Guardian

January 29, 2007
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.
Mark Wallinger

In The Guardian

February 1, 2007
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.
Charles Thomson

"Side bar" letter in The Guardian but not online

February 1, 2007
Hello Charles,
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

But that wasn't what Mark Wallinger said earlier!
He said:
"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.

External links
Tate press release on State Britain here.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 1537 (Designated Area) Order 2005
Metropolitan Police web site map of the exclusion zone
Emily Hill references Stuckism on spiked-online.com (7.4.07)

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