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Nudist Artist Spartacus on U.K. Turner Prize Shortlist

A performance-art show staged by Spartacus Chetwynd,
A performance-art show staged by Spartacus Chetwynd, "Odd Man Out" at Sadie Coles HQ, London. Chetwynd has been shortlisted for the 2012 Turner Prize. Source: Tate/ courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London via Bloomberg

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- A performance artist who changed her name to Spartacus, lives in a nudist colony and had the audience voting in a five-hour play last year is one of four nominees for the Turner Prize, the U.K.’s top contemporary-art award.

Spartacus Chetwynd, 38, uses homemade costumes, puppets and props to stage humorous events. Last year, as Britain held a referendum on the voting system, she had visitors cast ballots to determine where they ended up. Some were thrust down an inflatable slide to a basement called “Dantescape,” paved with severed limbs and litter bags and featuring marionettes acting out a Biblical story.

The three other nominees are: Luke Fowler, whose films splice archive footage of faded public figures with his own; Paul Noble, who makes giant pencil sketches that start with a word; and Elizabeth Price, whose videos focus on objects.

Tate Britain Director Penelope Curtis, who chairs the five-person jury, said this year’s finalists were “artists who broadcast slowness.”

“It’s not a quick fix,” she said after a slide-show presentation of the shortlist. “None of these are something you can get in a few minutes.”

Works by the finalists will be shown in a Tate Britain exhibition opening on Oct. 2. The winner will be announced on Dec. 3.


Today’s Muse highlights include: Mark Beech on music, Richard Vines on restaurants.

For More News and Information: Museum stories: {TNI MUSEUM MUSE <GO>}. Top arts and lifestyle stories: {MUSE <GO>}. Philanthropy stories: {NI PHILANTHRO <GO>}. More stories by Farah Nayeri: {NI NAYERI <GO>}.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at

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