Tracey Emin’s Unintentionally Unironic Zoolander-style Who Am I Quest

Tracey Emin

When learning of Tracey Emin’s decision to marry a rock of course the first thing the less charitable parts of our minds would be thinking will be along the lines of “well no one else would” or “someone has to”, etc. and other grumpy-expression shaming opinions. But I’ll leave that filmly unsaid, and instead ponder on the perplexity as to why. Surely this kind of publicity is old hat; people have married trees before, yawn, boring. Not to mention the man in the late 1980s who married a lettuce followed by the astounding headline revelation, ‘Greenfly Ate My Lover’!  

Please tell me she’s not going new-age hippy and destroying all her posessions (sorry, Michael Landy kind of already did that.) Forgive me for innocently asking the naïve question, but surely marriage is about living your own life through someone else’s: total commitment. For an artist who is so indebted to her own narcissism, whose work revolves around self-portaits objectifying encounters with other people as stitches on a tent, it seems the capacity to think of others is one perhaps lacking here. That and whoever engaged in the marriage would have to seriously be on board with the Tracey show. This is probably getting too personal, but I’m so sick of an artist so shallow as to be constantly living out an unintentionally unironic Zoolander-style “who am I” quest to baying press. You can dress this up in all the my-work-represents “rites of passage, of time and age, and the simple realisation that we are always alone” rhetoric as you like: her whole career is a one-note ‘Blue Steel’. “It’s my life. I think I’ve cried over more people that I love than people that I hate. I don’t think I’ve really hated hardly anyone. I think my big mistake is loving people too much,” she says. That’s it for me: I simply refuse to give any more attention to such gross self-interest. Until she produces an amazing zeitgeist changing piece of art that smacks me in the face with its profundity, I refuse to acknowledge her as an artist. Ok rant over..

On another, more interesting note, Damien Hirst’s Newport Street gallery has just announced its next show. He may have used the less bombastic John Hoyland to open the gallery, deflecting press questions about just how much obscene cash he really has, but this time he’s going full whack with peacocking his Jeff Koons collection. Described as spanning his career from 1979-2014, you realize that’s a hell of a lot of work. I’m interested purely to see what goodies he’s got in there. He’s curating it, and given such an amazing architectural space (I pretty much had my tongue out the whole time) and such an amazing collection, he can’t possibly go wrong curatorial-wise. I also hope Koons is there at the opening to I can touch his skin and see if he really is plastic.  Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2016


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