Tracey Emin’s crazy media coverage vs. Cabaret Voltaire’s Kino (2010)
Art Design Publicity at ADC | 1 February 2010
Inspired by Britney Spears’ crazy media coverage, we feature some of the stranger, darker and more questionable takes on Art Star Tracey Emin— with music journalism commentary by Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder!
Tracey Emin featured in The Observer, 19 September 1999 (excerpt).
Tracey Emin’s bird promotes "discussion" in the UK.
Billy Childish, Tracey’s ex-lover, in interview c. 2004:
SL [Steven Lowe, interviewer]: So you think you’re smarter than Tracy?
BC [Billy Childish]: Apparently not. Yes, I’m smarter than Tracy but you could be quite dumb and be smarter than Tracy. I’m just not as rich or famous.
Billy Childish on Tracey Emin’s book Strangeland, 30 OCT 2005.
"My only explanation for Tracey’s errors of memory is her need to take over the identity of anyone she perceives as a victim and appropriate their feelings as her own. This brings her the sympathy and attention she has always craved and would not receive if her own complicity and aggression were known. This insight explains much of the strange land Tracey inhabits. I realise that my answering back will no doubt infuriate her and confirm her sense of victimhood,. but I don’t want to anger her it’s just that I don’t want to inhabit it with her."
Tracey Emin art featured in Sunday Sport, 27 June 2004, with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
"Staying still is almost as hazardous as rebranding, however, for the value of Emin’s work in the art market feeds off her notoriety in the media, and while the appetite for celebrity and confession remains unabated, the publicity machine consumes most of its fodder rapidly.
[...] if only Emin could escape art, and fly fully into the world of the mass media—making films, for instance, not as limited edition, highly priced collectors’ items but for TV. It is an appealing thought but, of course, the umbilical cord of gold holds her right where she is, a trapped and fading star."
Antonia Bland in The First Post:
’"The problem with our little island," Richard Dorment writes, is that young British artists are too easily "flattered" by media attention. Emin’s work, he seems to be warning, may not survive comparison on the world stage.
Perhaps the most damning criticism of her Biennale show comes from Martin Gayford, posted today on Bloomberg.com. He describes Emin’s Biennale work as ’pretty’. What could be more insulting to a rebel artist?’
Richard Dorment in The Telegraph:
"And that’s why I think Tracey Emin is such a phoney. Few artists of her generation have been so successful or so lucky. She’s as tough as they come, and has the biggest ego in the business - and yet in her art she still wants all of us to feel as sorry for her as she does for herself.
For reasons that may have to do with the national obsession with reality TV, this country seems to have bought her act hook, line, and sinker. But in Venice her work is being shown between two of the strongest artists in the Biennale, Isa Genzken in the German pavilion and Sophie Calle in the French.
It is as if a singer with a certain local reputation has stepped on stage at La Scala. At last, we can see Emin alongside artists of real stature, and the comparison makes it obvious how slight her talent really is.
For the 22 years I’ve been reviewing this Biennale, I’ve never seen such thin material at the British pavilion."
Will Self in The Independent:
"She is the Janeycam of the art world; a tableau vivant of drinking, fucking, feuding, emoting, aborting and contriving, all of which is to be carried out in the eye of the lens. Thus we know plenty about her queered Margate upbringing; her Turkish-Cypriot, serial-begetting father (she has 11 half- siblings); her delinquent twin brother; her underage sex; her relationships (with among others the homespun nihilist Billy Childish); her abortions (two); and her rape (one)."
Magnus Linklater in The Times:
’She is now 45, but seems for ever trapped in a peculiarly horrible early adult timewarp. “Look at me and my terrible life,” she demands. Sooner or later we are bound to answer: “Why?”’
Frank Whitford in The Sunday Times:
"What gives her work its consequence is what she unwittingly reveals of the world we inhabit. There, celebrity is more important than real achievement, self-revelation more gripping than anything created by talent and a considerable imagination. For the artist herself, the chief purpose of art is as a means of achieving fame. God help us."
R.J. Preece in Parkett:
"Emin, however, says they are ’gimmicky’, and wishes that the Tate, whose responsibility she considers it to look after her work, had had them charged. ’It was upsetting and disturbing - a criminal offence,’ she said. ’I wouldn’t go round to someone’s house, smash up a coffee table and call that art. It’s terrorism - like some failed artist threatening to jump off Waterloo bridge unless they’re given a gallery.’
Cai and Xi prove unfazed when I convey Emin’s comments. ’She’s the failed artist, struggling in the system to network with the right people and hang out with the critics. Tracey’s been recruited to the London Mafia of artists - a gang who try to dominate the scene.’"
TRACEY EMIN: A CORRECTION
Melanie McGrath in Tate Magazine
"Not all Emin’s work draws me like this. But when it does, my sense memory is summoned in ways that are emotionally challenging, even dangerous. Emin is dangerous. She shouts, she often bullies, she will not let you look away. At the same time, her work radiates vulnerability.
[...] Here’s the thing about Emin’s art. It is comfortingly dangerous. It is at one and the same time subversive and conservative. I like this contradiction. I don’t fight against it. It gives her work its dynamism and context. It allows her to reach beyond the academy. It tells of life the way life is. Most of all, it keeps me interested."
Jeevan Vasagar in Daily Mail
R.J. Preece on Tracey Emin in Parkett:
[...] Instead, she makes art that makes sense to her, and the artwork she likes, and the movements that influence her, fall beneath that.
Tracey isn’t trapped in the art historical who-did-what-first game for expanding her audience, income, and her art world. Nowadays, she doesn’t need it, as she’s so fabulously beyond it. She’s located her audience, a mass tribe, based on personal and professional commonalities. Don’t we wish that all artists were able to locate their own tribes like Tracey? With her developing media prowess and connections, Emin’s army (1993-97), she reinforces the notion that artists can create their own international networks, instead of a Third-World art hierarchy set up for those who select and define— and those who follow. Tracey emancipates artists by further emphasizing an alternative route, here the media addressed by Jeff Koons and Mark Kostabi. But Tracey the phenomenon has been raised to new media heights, giving fellow Brit Damien Hirst a run for his money. With her strong visual and controversial focal points—in her art, autobiography, personality, and her naturally media-genic communications skills—the result shows the power of her art-artist fusion. Meanwhile, contextually and contentiously in Britain, this results in recasting the personal into art—and her personality into unprecedented mass-media coverage. [...]
Tracey’s sensation-led experience continues with The perfect place to grow (2001), a video viewed through a peephole, recalling Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés (1944-66). But instead of sex and violence, a pleasant, smiling older man, her father walks toward the viewer offering a flower. It’s this work which symbolizes what Tracey’s tribe hopes for Tracey— more stability and happy moments. Her tribe also eagerly awaits the next chapter in Tracey’s personal and professional life— via her artwork, her discourse of context and intention— while some are hungry for the next revelation in her multiplying media discourse.
Tracey Emin’s crazy media coverage (2010): 1 | Tracey Emin art + media encore (fire & tent) (2012): 2
Tracey Emin at artdesigncafe
Tracey Emin’s crazy media coverage (2010): 1 | Tracey Emin quotes across the UK: 2 | Tracey Emin bites back book proposal (2008): 3 | Tracey Emin interview (2002): 4 | Tracey Emin essay: art and media (2001): 5 | Tracey Emin hated this exhibition review (1999): 6 | More Tracey Emin at artdesigncafe: 7