The Turner Prize, one of the art world's most controversial awards, continues to generate a great deal of debate within the art world, particularly after this year's favored entry (a Kentucky Fried Chicken menu encased in lead) was denounced by Britain's Culture Minister, Kim Howells. Held at the Tate Gallery of Art, the competition is sponsored by the Tate's Patrons of New Art, who select the jury responsible for awarding the final prize of 20,000 pounds. The award is named after the noted English painter J.M.W. Turner, an artist whose own work was very controversial in the early 19th century. The art community within Britain has grown divided about the nature of the Turner Prize, with some critics calling the works of modern and post-modern art selected for the award "irrelevant" and "pointless." Interestingly, an Alternative Turner Prize has been awarded in recent years by a private club, and as one of the Alternative Prize judges has stated, this award is designed to "merely plead for a wider and more generous choice of art and artist."
The first link leads to a recent news story on the Turner Prize from the BBC. Sponsored by the Tate Museum, the second site features details about all of the Turner Prize finalists, along with displays of their work. The third link leads to a recent commentary by Martin Kettle of The Guardian on the "unsettling experience" of this year's Turner Prize artistic offerings. The fourth link is a online gallery of previous Turner Prize works from 1995 to 2001, including last year's winner, Martin Creed's "Lights Going On and Off." The fifth site is a collection of artists' writings on their art, along with other essays, and includes the ruminations of such individuals as Marc Chagall, Eugene Delacroix, and Paul Klee. Provided by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the final site leads to an excellent overview of the Modernist turn in the visual arts over the past century, and includes brief introductions to nine different movements within modernism.