With Tate Liverpool hosting the northern England debut of Tracey Emin’s notorious work “My Bed”, the artist has once again entered pop culture headlines. To commemorate the opening, here are 10 outrageous facts you may not have known about this contemporary art’s enfant terrible.
1. She married a rock
Last summer, Tracey Emin married a large stone that she found in her garden in France. Referring to her new husband as an anchor and as “something I can identify with”, she has expressed newfound feelings of importance from the marriage.
2. Her life isn’t as chaotic as her bed
Despite “My Bed” and its appearance as a chaotic mess of discarded condoms and underwear, Tracey Emin claims to be, in fact, very neat. She’s quoted as saying that her real bed is actually so orderly and “boring” as a result of her OCD.
3. She’s a real philanthropist
Earlier this month, celebrity chef Mark Hix announced plans to form Britain’s biggest band for a get together on a beach in Dorset, all in support of cancer research. As a contribution to the funds raised, Tracey Emin has teamed up with Paul McCartney to draw one of her famous sketches on an acoustic guitar alongside the musician’s signature, which is said to be valued at £50,000.
4. She named an art movement after an ex
Tracey Emin’s jovial insult to her ex-boyfriend, Billy Childish, resulted in the birth of a radical and controversial art movement. Upon informing Childish that his art was “stuck” because all he did was paint, the term “Stuckism” was coined. This led to the formation of The Stuckists, a group of artists who aimed to promote figurative painting as opposed to conceptual art.
5. She has a twin named Paul
Paul once conducted an interview in which he revealed the siblings’ shared hatred for their childhood lunch lady. Following the candid discussion, Emin created two prints entitled “We Killed the Fucking Dinner Lady”. She gave one to Paul, who sold the estimated £12,000 piece at auction for a mere £2,500 in a desperate attempt to raise money for emigration.
6. She’s a favourite among A-listers
Elton John and George Michael are both collectors of Emin’s work. Their interest in her art has resulted in”‘A Tribute to Tracey Emin” at Michael’s Dallas-based museum, the Goss-Michael Foundation, as well as a chance for the artist to speak at Elton John’s 2015 AIDS Foundation Benefit.
7. She also designs accessories
Emin’s collaborations include joining forces with jewellery designer Stephen Webster. A 35-piece collection entitled “I Promise to Love You” incorporates phrases used in Emin’s neon signs for necklaces and 18k golden penis charms, which can be yours for a cool £1,000.
8. Her first splurge was a sensible one
Unlike many unnecessary celebrity shopping sprees, Emin’s first major pay check went towards medical insurance. She once stated: “I’m sickly and I get run down and I have very bad herpes. I like knowing that the doctor’s there.”
9. Her work ended up in a dumpster, once
A neon sign made by Emin for Kate Moss lay for three years in a basement uncollected, due to the fact that the model had no room to store the artwork in her home. Somehow, it ended up unceremoniously dumped in a trashcan outside Spitalfields, where a nosy passer-by managed to nab themselves an original Tracey Emin piece.
10. She’s doesn’t take art too seriously
In 2004, a fire broke out in East London’s Momart Warehouse, destroying Emin’s “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995”, along with works from Damien Hirst and many others. Although upset, Emin fairly stated: “The news comes between Iraqi weddings being bombed and people dying in the Dominican Republic in flash floods, so we have to get it into perspective.”
“My Bed” by Tracey Emin is on display at the Tate Liverpool until 3 September 2017