At the TATE GALLERY this week

By Roger Meplease, our Arts Correspondent in London

Tate Director Sir Humphrey Kindler-SmytheSir Humphrey Kindler-Smythe, Director of the Tate, dismisses criticisms as coming from 'yahoos'.


LONDON. The 2001 Turner Prize will be awarded this week. The prestigious £20,000 prize will be awarded in one of three exhibitions recently and currently offered at The Tate.

Stephen Pippins artful pastiche of wild animalsí dung has won unstinted praise from those critics who believe such works so courageously champion feminine relevance in a world dominated by corporate elites run entirely by men. Pippinís work is cleverly arranged as a triptych, with The Madonna as the centrepiece, itself entirely fashioned of mixed media elephant coprolites. Aptly dubbed PIETA, Pippinsís masterwork has everyone from the Queen down positively rapturous. The Royal Coprophilia Society had previously awarded it the prestigious Two Turds Up Award.

Another contender is Tracey Emin whose display of her chamber pot together with its contents marks a new benchmark for artistic excellence. Alongside the pot, Emin has artfully arranged a snot stained Kleenex, a missed pot puddle of urine, and a vial of her very own menstrual fluid.

Finally, Chris Ofili, is showing a short film of himself, in an endless tape, masturbating to the strains of Elgarís Land of Hope and Glory played backwards on ancient instruments. As his seminal fluid endlessly re-enters his body to the glorious reversed strains of music, viewers are transfixed by its suggestion of infinite artful design, relevance, and gratuitous homage to post-Gloria Steinemism and the new millennium.

Some critics, those not on the art establishment Index of Approved Critics, are not quite so thrilled by the display, but The Tate stands proudly by its tradition of being in the vanguard of artistic expression. Brushing off criticism that the show lacked relevance to a world struggling with poverty, disease and the recent break-up of The Spice Girls, the Tateís Director, Sir Humphrey Kindler-Smythe, said the gallery will continue offering exhibits of excrement and other bodily fluids.  ďUnless we show it, they will not come,Ē he said, presumably meaning to the Tate. ď I canít be bothered with people who donít recognize great art when they see it.Ē

The show continues throughout 2002. Admission: Adults, ten globs of excrement from any animal; children in diapers (needing to be changed), free. Ofiliís version of Elgarís music, Yrolg dna Epoh fo Dnal is said to be doing brisk sales in the museumís gift shop. 

Roger Meplease is the Cultural and Arts correspondent for The Notional Pest in London.


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