Pickled cows and unmade beds: the art award has always challenged convention. But in 2021 it is going further, by abolishing individual artists altogether
The Turner prize has given us some great characters. Grayson Perry was a little-known alternative potter before this annual competition for avant garde British art launched him as a commentator and media personality. Tracey Emin became a national sensation when she showed her unmade bed in 1999, though she lost out to Steve McQueen – yet another talent for whom it was the beginning of great things.
But it’s a fair bet that no individual will become rich or famous as a result of this year’s Turner exhibition at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery. This is no slight on the 80 or so people I count behind the five collectives on this year’s shortlist. It’s just that you have to scan the small print to even find these folks’ names. The Turner has turned on itself.