The Turner Prize Manifesto of The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists

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First published in The Other Muswell Hill Stuckist newspaper, December 2012.


Stuckism doesn’t just oppose, it provides the alternative. An almost subterranean, yet radical art movement continuing modernism in its own direction, Remodernism. The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists believe Stuckism is the genuine art revolution of today, and that the Turner Prize is biased towards establishment-friendly art, critics follow suit, and artists sell out. The Turner Prize almost exclusively champions one kind of art. Artists repackaging the same dry, barren, sterile and clinical approach, albeit using different methods. Maybe widely representative of a controlled and commercial artworld, but not of the many British artists standing outside the establishment. We see Stuckism as a punk art movement, as likely to produce a Turner Prize winner as Johnny Rotten or Kurt Cobain winning X-Factor.

The Turner Prize could be a true platform for unsung British art, but we think it is used to further Sir Nicholas Serota’s plan of “a radical unseating of painting and sculpture from the positions as the ‘king and queen’ of art.” An agenda we believe is widespread amongst the UK’s galleries and press. We don’t rubbish the work of every Turner Prize artist, or claim to have never seen a good painter or sculptor short-listed. We don’t think figurative painting should have a monopoly. We are saying that the art establishment shouldn’t dictate their own, one we see from an overview of work short-listed, alongside solo-shows not short-listed. Examples would include solo shows by many Stuckist artists. We believe Tate should respond to artists, not the other way round.

We recognise Stuckism as the fight against the depressing state-controlled and uniform British contemporary art scene, and for art that doesn’t pander to anyone. British artists can either share in Tate’s agenda and succeed, or by either ignoring or rebelling, remain outcasts. As artists, we couldn’t care less, as our work remains unaffected, but we believe it is bad for British culture. It also confirms Sir Nicholas Serota is making the same mistake Tate Directors are renowned for, as highlighted by Charles Thomson (Stuckism co-founder) in 2008, in 3am Magazine “What Is Wrong with Sir Nicholas Serota?”, in failing to see the reality, choosing instead to follow a personal preference. Matisse’s Red Studio could otherwise be hanging in Tate Modern today.

We believe Sir Nicholas Serota’s mistake is even greater, as the most significant and radical art movement in the world during his Directorship is for once, British and at times literally standing on Tate Britain’s doorstep in front of him.

Edgeworth Johnstone, Shelley Li and Emma Pugmire. 19 November 2012

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