Turner Prize shortlistlaunched amid rows

The UK's most prestigious – and controversial – modern art award was launched yesterday amid protests by photographers and artists.

The launch of the Turner Prize at Tate Britain in central London was initially boycotted by photographers after they were asked to sign a form which said they could not publish any images or words which would “result in any adverse publicity” for the Tate.

The two-hour stand-off ended when the Tate allowed them to attend the launch without signing the form and said it would be reviewed before further events.

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Brian Sewell, art critic for the Evening Standard, said of the organisers: “They are prickly about the Turner Prize because they are mocked about it year after year.”

There was also a separate protest outside the gallery by a group of artists who said the shortlisted work was “pretentious and vacuous”.

One of the contenders is a recording of three separate versions of a traditional folk song by Glasgow-born artist Susan Philipsz. Other works include a coffin-like black box filled with old paintings and a series of televisions showing a 1989 Channel 4 series about the legacy of ancient Greece.