Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 2001

Turner Prize

The Turner Prize 2001 was awarded to Martin Creed. The £20,000 prize was presented to the artist by Madonna

Turner Prize

Turner Prize 2001 exhibition poster

Martin Creed was shortlisted for the exhibition Martin Creed Works, organised by Southampton City Art Gallery and shown at Leeds City Art Gallery, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, and Camden Arts Centre, London, and Art Now: Martin Creed, Tate Britain, London. 

In awarding Creed the Prize, the jury praised the deftness and breadth of his recent work, as seen in neon pieces such as Work # 203: Everything is going to be alright and Work # 232: The whole world + the work = the whole world, as well as his contribution to the Turner Prize exhibition. They admired his audacity in presenting a single work in the exhibition, and noted its strength, rigour, wit and sensitivity to the site. Coming out of the tradition of minimal and conceptual art, his work is engaging, wide ranging and fresh, extending into music in the band owada.

The jury also stressed the strength of the shortlist and wished to record their admiration for the outstanding exhibitions produced by all four artists.


Creed’s conceptualism raises the question: ‘what is art?’

Media coverage became increasingly disgruntled as the Prize seemed to have become a victim of its own success. This year’s shortlist was seen as ‘obscure’ while a number of critics felt that the Prize had reached a plateau. There was a demand for less elitism in the selection process, less ‘conceptual art’ and an attack was launched on the ‘art-world’ language used to contextualise the exhibition. Awarding the prize to Martin Creed for Work No.227: The lights going on and off only fuelled this sense of agitation. The choice of Madonna as presenter of the award was criticised as a cynical marketing strategy.


  • Patricia Bickers, Editor, Art Monthly
  • Stuart Evans, representative of the Patrons of New Art
  • Robert Storr, Senior Curator, Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
  • Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate

Turner Prize 2001 in quotes

I think people can make of it what they like. I don’t think it is for me to explain it. I mean I like it you know. For me it’s full of life, but I don’t know what other people might make of it and I don’t think it’s for me to tell people what to think.
Martin Creed quoted in BBC News, December 2001
Take a bare white room with a light switching on and off and what have you got? A Turner Prize winner.
Tom Parry, The Mirror, December 2001
He wanted to get the biggest effect with the least effort. It’s the dis-proportion between the effort and the effect.
Germaine Greer, Newsnight Review, December 2001

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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7 November 2001 – 20 January 2002

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