Turner Prize No. 27 … 28 … 29 …

Having slipped into its tedious annual routine, the Turner Prize is upon us again, at Tate Britain, until January 6th; the winner – £25,000 better off – is announced to a live television audience of well into double figures on December 3rd. Those responsible for organising this banquet of self-congratulation continue to fanfare its importance, but it is in truth many years since the Turner Prize introduced an artist of any lasting significance whose work lives in the mind’s eye: it is a safe bet that in a hundred years no one will be looking at any of this work.

We have now had 27 years of the same ‘cutting edge’, for which lasting importance is routinely claimed; 27 years of ‘challenges’ forgotten almost immediately; 27 years of assorted ‘subversions’, ‘dissolvings’, ‘explorings’, ‘exploitings’ and ‘juxtaposings’ which have altered nothing; and at least a decade of winners whose names only half a dozen addicts of State Art can (or want to) remember. Cubism only took five years and even Impressionism was done for after ten.

We have reached the end of the avant garde.