Transgender Artist Wins Prestigious Award for Work That Closely Resembles a Pile of Garbage

Transgender Artist Wins Prestigious Award for Work That Closely Resembles a Pile of Garbage


That’s really the only word I can use to describe the piece by artist Jesse Darling that recently won the Turner Prize, a prestigious award handed out to a British visual artist.

Darling, 41, is making headlines because her work disses Margaret Thatcher, “Britishness” and other forces of “societal breakdown,” according to the U.K. Independent. Also, she’s the first transgender winner of the award; according to Britain’s iNews, she’s “transmasculine,” which is a fancy way of saying she’s a woman who identifies as a man.

Anyhow, according to the Independent, the Oxford-born Darling was presented the award by rapper Tinie Tempa on Wednesday and promptly pulled a Palestinian flag out of her pocket. Nice work. In addition to being given the opportunity to virtue-signal, she was also awarded £25,000 ($31,437.62) in prize money.

During her speech, Darling also slammed former Prime Minister Thatcher for cutting back on art in schools since it wasn’t “economically viable.”

“She paved the way for the greatest trick the Tories ever played, which is to convince working people in Britain that studying, self-expression and what the broadsheet supplements describe as ‘culture’ is only for certain people in Britain from certain socioeconomic backgrounds,” she said.

“I just want to say don’t buy in, it’s for everyone.”

Well, yes, in Darling’s case, it is — although it doesn’t prove her point in quite the way I think she hoped it would. Here’s the piece in question, “Towner Eastbourne,” for which she won the award:

As the late Anglo-American pundit and author Christopher Hitchens observed: “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

The same rule, apparently, applies to visual art.

Ah, but don’t tell that to the jury who awarded Darling the prize, who commended her “use of materials and commonplace objects like concrete, welded barriers, hazard tape, office files and net curtains, to convey a familiar yet delirious world invoking societal breakdown, [her] presentation unsettles perceived notions of labour, class, Britishness and power.”

By making what appears to be, as one social media user put it, like something “picked up from a junkyard.”

But, as British author and activist Alexander Adams pointed out, the reason Darling won the prize wasn’t because modern art is, to use her words, “for everyone.” In fact, quite the opposite.


“What won was worthless. That is the point. You are supposed to despise it. It is a chance for elite radicals to humiliate you and your ideals of beauty, your reverence for skill, your yearning for transcendence, your respect for institutions,” he wrote on social media.

“You will not remember it in a few hours’ time because it is empty cycling, processing acclaim, staff, material and money through the art world. I’ve written many times about the way the state supports ‘amnesiac art’ designed specifically to have no aesthetic qualities. This piece is an embodiment of that.”

In other words: It’s garbage. And that’s the point.

But it’s fitting garbage because everything about this award is garbage. Every bit of the left’s inside-out standards — of beauty, of gender, even of right and wrong, judging by the tacit support for Hamas and the Palestinians made by Darling — was on full display Wednesday. The artwork was just part of the package. But if you needed to figure out what the package was all about in just a few seconds, you couldn’t do any better than just glancing at the pile of rubbish that is “Towner Eastbourne.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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