Streaker Disrupts Turner Prize

London - A streaker who disrupted this week's Turner Prize announcement has been arrested by police. Celebrated fashion photographer Mario Testino was mid-announcement when a man stripped, shoved his way through the crowd, and jumped onto the stage dressed in a pink tutu. This is a typical event for an art collector of Art Kabinett network who witnessed similar states of nudity at last week's Art Basel Miami fair. The words ‘study this’ had been scrawled onto his naked torso. He was swiftly dragged away by two security guards. Testino laughed off the incident, saying ‘Art is everywhere’.   Testino had already let the cat out of the bag, making the ‘M’ sound before the streaker shouted out and stopped him. This made the incident doubly confusing, with many guests assuming that the commotion was main contender Martin Boyce’s family and friends celebrating. Others thought that Testino might have failed to follow script, and the interruption was Baltic/Tate/Ch4 officials calling out to stop him revealing the winner too soon.   After the incident, as the after-party kicked off, police officers were called to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, and arrested a 46-year-old from Liverpool ‘on suspicion of disorderly conduct’. He has since been released on bail.   The precise purpose of the protest is unknown, but the words ‘study this’ suggest that it may have something to do with art education cuts. If so, there is a certain irony in the protest happening now that Martin Boyce has won, with the artist taking the opportunity to voice his concern over reforms in higher education and the vast increase in tuition fees: ‘As education is put through the wringer, I want to acknowledge the importance of accessible education,’ he said.   At last year’s prize, some 30 students invaded the ceremony at Tate Britain, in protest against the British government's savage funding cuts for arts schools. Once in, they proceeded to chant so as to make the ceremony inaudible. They wore dunce caps and shouted slogans such as ‘The Tate would be empty without art schools’, and ‘Education should be free for all, not a product for purchase’.   Since its heyday in the 1970s, being caught streaking now involves the risk of being charged with indecent exposure, and consequently the title of ‘sex offender’ upon conviction. The Turner Prize streaker took no such risks, hence the pink tutu. As a result, ‘disorderly conduct’ was the only charge available to police. The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award that was set up in 1984 to celebrate new developments in contemporary art. The prize is awarded each year to 'a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding'. The prize was founded by a group called the Patrons of New Art. They were formed in 1982 to help buy new art for the Tate Gallery's collection, and to encourage wider interest in contemporary art. The Patrons wanted a name associated with great British art. They chose JMW Turner (1775–1851) partly because he had wanted to establish a prize for young artists. He also seemed appropriate because his work was controversial in his own day. The prize is currently valued at £40 000 -- now a mere token barely covering the shipping costs of some of the artworks of notable previous winners which include: Anish Kapoor (1991); Damien Hirst (1995); Chris Ofili (1998); Wolfgang Tillmans (2000).