Tracey Emin Gets Her Name Up In Lights On Broadway

Tracey Emin

The British artist Tracey Emin has been commissioned to do a project in New York City to tie in with Valentines day. Titled “For all the lovers in NYC” the month of February will see a series of blow-ups of her highly regarded neon works projected on 40 gigantic screens for three minutes every evening at midnight. The romantic display will contain messages like; “I promise to love you” and “I can’t believe how much I love you.” which will animate in motion as if they are being hand written.

The project comes courtesy of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, who are supporting public art projects. Emin stated, “I’m really brilliant at unrequited love. I haven’t had a relationship for years. It’s totally inspired my work…I wonder if people will stand underneath them and kiss and have their photos taken.”

As one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Tracey Emin’s moving series of digital neon works, “I Promise To Love You”, is comprised of six artworks around the theme of love. In this unique moving image, the glowing words—made of digital neon lights—slowly spell themselves out, as if being written by the invisible hand of Tracey herself. The gentle electric pulsing of the text gradually builds into a searing, potent red, leaving the viewer in no doubt about  the power of love. Times Square, famous for its neon lighting displays, is the perfect venue for the premiere of Emin’s animation.

Tracey Emin is one of the UK’s best known and celebrated artists. Emerging in the 90s as one of the Young British Artists, her confessional and often brutal work draws on her own experiences of love, sex, rape, abortion and loss. Emin earned a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1997 with one of her best-known works, a tent embroidered with the name of Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995.

She was recently appointed as the new Professor of Drawing at London’s prestigious Royal Academy, the country’s oldest art school. The General Assembly of Royal Academicians (RAs) an exclusive club of sculptors, architects, printmakers and painters have supported the decision. However the appointment of the artist is somewhat controversial: most famous for the works Everyone I Have Ever Slept With (a tent embroidered with the names of everyone she had ever sleepy with), and My Bed (her unmade bed, surrounded by grimy detritus), Emin is not your typical fine arts academician – and perhaps an odd choice of a professor of drawing. Figurative painter Diana Armfield, for instance, complained to the Times that she ‘wouldn’t have thought that her talents were that way, while conceding that Emin’s scrawling works on paper ‘I suppose are drawings’. And she may have a point that Emin’s draughtsmanship  lacks the formal skill of former post-holders – from William Turner, and John Constable, to William Blake. Her shows at the Hayward Gallery (2010) and last years Cultural Olympiad exhibition at the Turner Contemporary was generally well received.

“I Promise to Love You”, will premiere on February 1st and play throughout the month as part of the “Midnight Moment”, a presentation of the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts. s[edition] helped bring these works to Times Square and they will all be available for sale simultaneously and exclusively at


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