Michael Gove's anti-Turner prize tweets are childishly prejudiced

By Charlotte Higgins

The former education secretary has dubbed the work of Turner prize winner Helen Marten ‘modish crap' – and championed his own blinkered version of post-Brexit art history

Oh, it quite takes one back to the good old days when Kim Howells, once upon a time Labour arts minister, remarked of the 2002 Turner prize shortlist that it was “cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit”. That verdict was delivered, quaintly, via a comment card pinned to the wall of the Tate, back when Britain was conjoined to the continent, the planet was a welter of primordial slime, and Twitter had not yet been invented. At least Howells' condemnation had a certain ring to it.

On the other hand, Michael Gove's tweet about this year's prize (won by Helen Marten on Monday night) is boundlessly oafish. So much so that it could almost have been designed to stir up a little personal publicity for a man about whom many British people had actually, and blissfully, forgotten – that sweet oblivion the merest sliver of silver lurking beneath the dark cloud of late 2016.

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