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18-foot sculpture of man's buttocks makes Turner Prize shortlist

LONDON — The shortlist for the Turner Prize never fails to be provocative, and this year's inclusion of an 18-foot sculpture of male buttocks certainly feels right at home.

The nominees for Britain's most prestigious contemporary art prize this year are Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten and Josephine Pryde. One of them in December will join the ranks of the likes of Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Steve McQueen as a Turner Prize winner.

The sculpture-heavy list feels like somewhat of a return to form for the Turner Prize, which last year went to architecture collective Assemble — prompting outcry about the "death of the Turner Prize" as it didn't go to "artists."

Hamilton's buttocks sculpture was part of her Lichen! Libdo! Chastity! exhibition in New York. It's her interpretation of Italian architect Gaetano Pesce's (sadly unrealised) proposal for the door of a Manhattan office building. 

Here's a photo of the artist and Pesce in front of the sculpture:

We don't know whose gluteus maximus inspired the sculpture; the tight-lipped Hamilton has only said it's from a 3D scan of a "well-known graphic artist's" backside.

Hamilton's work takes on stylised sexual imagery in the world, playing with size and comedy in her sculpture and installations.

Another highlight among the nominees is Pryde's choo-choo train, which looks at the relationship between art and photography. In a California show, visitors could ride a little choo-choo train around the gallery while looking at photos of women's hands.

Marten brings together found objects in her sculptures. She was nominated for projects at the Venice Biennale and in New York. Tate describes her work as "slippery and elusive in both form and meaning: it attracts and intrigues while also resisting interpretation and categorisation."

The only man on the shortlist, Dean is "obsessed" with shop shutters. He creates his own typefaces and uses the text on sculptures created from building materials.

The Turner Prize, established in 1984, awards £40,000 ($57,740) in total to British artists under the age of 50. The winner receives £25,000 and £5,000 each goes to the finalists. 

If you didn't get a chance to see the shortlisted artists' exhibitions elsewhere — a lot of them were in New York this year — they'll be on display at Tate Britain in London from Sept. 27 to Jan. 8. The winner will be announced in December.

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