Tracey ‘gonnae learn to make your bed’ Emin.


Regardless of whether you’re fully immersed in the art world or you couldn’t give a fuck about it I’d be willing to bet that you’d still know who Tracey Emin was or have at least heard her name.

Do you recognise this woman?

You might not have recognised her if she happened to pass you in the street, but if you came face to face with the following artwork I’m sure it would ring at least one bell. And I’d hope it would be something along the lines of – ‘Oh aye her. But, how the fuck did this make her so bloody famous?’

ART? Apparently aye.

Now before you start off on one and say that art can be anything I’ll sort of agree with you. I do not for one minute believe that art is something that can be put in a box, labelled and left in storage to simply be found again later. It’s an extremely wide and intricate web of pretty much everything. It’s sort of like, i dunno, the thoughts and ideas of hundreds and thousands of people just hingin’ aboot and having a good time. And when you look at it like that then yes, surely anything can be art? Although, if that’s the case then maybe nothing is art?

As an art student myself I clearly don’t believe the latter otherwise I would believe my degree to be 100% pointless. However, I don’t feel that just anything should be allowed to fall into the vast web and label that is ‘art’. And this is where Tracey Emin comes in handy. Shes talented, yes. But her real talent is almost a secret, with most people only knowing about one or two pieces. Namely ‘My bed’ and ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995.

Ever seen this in your puff? Naw, probably not.

Emin, who it seems these days is only known for her ‘Modern’ artworks is actually, in my opinion, a more talented painter, drawer and writer. However no one seems to takes as much notice of artists or works that are not seen to be PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES! Taking that into consideration I do understand why Emin allows her fame to be controlled by these artworks, instead of others, as in order to be recognised your works have to be seen to be doing something that seems drastically different. But does that make it right? Although, it is not so much the fault of the artists but instead the fault of art critics and more importantly the outside world should the likes of Emin, who have more power to control this, allow it to so often be the case. If they just continue to ‘take the bait’, so to speak, will things ever change?

Have you ever seen the works above or below? Probably not, yet I think there is a hell of a lot more beauty, meaning and talent shown on those single sheets of paper than in the two pieces I’ve mentioned earlier put together. As a photography student myself I often have to struggle with people, informing and telling them that, yes, photography IS art. So understanably it gets on my wick when pieces like these are so easily accepted into that world, pretty much unquestioned.

Yes, I do feel slightly hypocritical when saying certain works, in my opinion, are not art. Simply because it puts these artists in a similar situation to myself and I know how frustrating that can be. However the point is when I defend myself I am defending a whole practise. I’m not defending myself and it would be nice for Emin’s true talent to be seen by the masses. Yes, she is an artist and she’s a good one at that. But not because of the works the media and art critics go and are still going stark raving mental over.


5 responses »

  1. I was worried when I saw the title of this post, cos I cannot abide anyone slagging Tracey!

    But yeah, I appreciate this post.

    I think Tracey Emin is HUGELY talented, I love her work, and tbh, I think that criticism targeted at her is mainly based on misogyny.

    • It’s bizarre. Before I wrote this piece I had intended to slag her off a lot more but actually sitting down to write I realised that I do not hate Tracey Emin. I knew she was talented but I hadn’t really appreciated quite how talented. Which is because these other pieces completely over shadow it, and it’s a shame.

      • My favourite of her works are all her amazing quilts and a short film I can’t remember the name of, which is about entering a dancing competition as a teenager, and all of her previous one night stands in the audience shouting at her that she’s a slag – and then she does some awesome dancing to stick it to them. It rocks.

        I think the thing about the bed and the everyone i’ve ever slept with piece is that without proper analysis they do just look shit and random, but if you see them as a comment on the invisibility of women’s experience in the art world, which a lot of her work deals with, then I find them both really powerful.

  2. Good piece! I agree that her previous paintings are very nice. The thing about the bedroom that gets me is that it seems to be riding on the back of the fact that she eas already well known when she took the picture, because why else would anyone be concerned wi some randomers bedroom?

    • I just don’t think the rest of her work should be over shadowed by the fact she doesn’t make her fucking bed in the morning. Cause the other stuff is actually quite gid.

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