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Opinion: Why David Shrigley should win this year's Turner Prize

Posted by Rob Alderson,

This week editor Rob Alderson reflects on the Turner Prize nominees and nails his colours to the mast of who he wants to win. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below.

When this year’s Turner Prize nominees were announced, Guardian art critic and former Turner juror Adrian Searle was quick to set out his stall. “A world-class artist in the way that the others are not, the bottom line is that (Tino) Sehgal is already the winner.”

His article ran with the following introduction. “The deviser of unsettling public encounters is a world-class artist in a way that the other contenders – Laure Prouvost, David Shrigley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – are not.”

Elsewhere though, it’s the inclusion of David Shrigley that has provoked the most discussion. Within minutes of the shortlist being unveiled, my Twitter feed included a passionate hope that he is named the winner come December, and an equally bombastic plea that he is not. The latter Tweet came from someone who works within the arts and design industry, the former did not.

I wrote a piece back in October that called on the Turner Prize to be more open about their criteria but the inclusion of Shrigley moves this debate on a bit.

Maybe it’s the fact that his wildly popular show at The Hayward Gallery was such a mainstream success that some turn their noses up at the Glaswegian master of surreal silliness. But while I enjoyed being unsettled by Tino Seghal’s Tate Modern performance piece – where a flock of people, ran, danced, played and approached you for whispered, random conversations – and I am a big fan of Laure Provost, Shrigley is my clear winner.

And it’s precisely because he gatecrashed the mainstream consciousness that I want him to win. In the past the Turner Prize has revelled in flagging up lesser-known exhibitions and has done it well. But sometimes the shortlist has smacked of a certain kind of snobbery. Shrigley’s show was joyous, funny, thought-provoking and tackled that hoary idea of what art is. To do all this and have them queueing round the block is certainly “outstanding” in my eyes.

Would David Shrigley be a worthy winner? Does he even deserve a place on the list? Leave your comments below.

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.