LONDON (AP) — British art's prestigious Turner Prize embraced the playful and the satirical Thursday, announcing a list of four finalists including a cartoonist known for his scathing humor and an artist who orchestrates encounters that break down barriers between people.
The contenders include popular humorist David Shrigley, 44, who specializes in squiggled, bleakly humorous comics and directed the video for Blur's "Good Song." He was nominated for an exhibition of drawings, photography, sculpture and film.
British-German artist Tino Sehgal, 36, was also nominated. He creates "live encounters" including "These Associations," a piece staged last year at London's Tate Modern that got members of the public to mix with running, walking, chatting volunteers.
The judges said Sehgal's works "test the limits of artistic material and audience perception in a new and significant way."
Also nominated is Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a Londoner of Ghanaian descent who paints realistic portraits of imaginary people — complete with detailed back-stories that "raise pertinent questions about how we read pictures in general, particularly with regard to black subjects," the judges said.
The final contender is France-born Laure Prouvost, 35, a filmmaker and installation artist praised by the judges for her "seductive and disorienting stories."
The 25,000-pound ($40,000) award, given annually to a British or Britain-based artist under 50, often sparks lively debate about the value of modern art. Previous winners of the prize, named for 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, include media favorites such as transvestite potter Grayson Perry, shark pickler Damien Hirst and dung-daubing painter Chris Ofili.
The prize usually attracts both controversy and bets from art-loving gamblers. Bookmaker William Hill made Shrigley the early favorite Tuesday with odds of 7-4, followed by Prouvost at 2-1, Sehgal a 5-2 and Yiadom-Boakye at 4-1.
An exhibition of work by the finalists will open in October in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which has been designated the U.K.'s city of culture for 2013.
The winner will be announced Dec. 2.
AP Writer Sylvia Hui contributed to this report.