Ever since 1917, when Marcel Duchamp submitted a urinal to the Society of Independent Artists’ exhibition, arguing that it was art, anything has become acceptable. Artist Chris Burden shot himself in the arm in a Los Angeles gallery in 1971; Piero Manzoni canned what was allegedly his own feces and sold it as “Merda d’artista (Artist’s Shit)” in 1961; Martin Creed had a light in a room flick on and off for the Turner Prize exhibition when he won in 2001. That work, “Lights Going On and Off,” is now at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in a dim room at its latest exhibition, “History in the Making: A Retrospective of the Turner Prize.”

More than most awards given for art, the Turner prize has regularly shocked audiences. Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, believes it is necessary to inject radical ideas into mainstream culture.

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