George Shaw Should Have Won the Turner Prize

12.06.11 Marina Galperina

Yes, I am completely comfortable saying this as a graffiti dick hangs in the gallery of George Shaw paintings above this sentence. Yesterday, artist Martin Boyce took home Britain’s coveted Turner Prize: £25,000  ($39,220) and bragging rights for his abstract geometric hodgepodge that is, surely, poetic and all, but, not as good as George Shaw‘s urban decay landscapes. Don’t you cry “kitsch” at me. Here’s why.

Also shortlisted Karla Black and Hilary Lloyd. Now then.

Both Boyce and Shaw reference bygone movements, but Boyce’s “lyrically autumnal” “Modernist gardens” (his neon trees was better) just don’t hold up to Shaw’s neu-pastorial scenes of Britain’s cold, isolated streets, shuttered storefronts, shattered factories, graffitied walls and warm waves of slanted sun. I don’t favor “traditional” art one way or the other, but viscerally speaking, Shaw’s raw, brimming, moody, real…

Guardian critic/resident grumbler Jonathan Jones seems to think that as the only shortlisted painter, Shaw got shafted because his Britain is “too glum” and “a bit dour,” and so was Joy Division. Touché. What’s this moratorium on sad? A question remains though: Could Shaw’s loss resulted from the judges’ prejudiced tsk-tsk over graffiti dicks?