Saturday, July 21, 2012

"... some kind of communication, a message"

"Being an artist isn't just about making nice things, or people patting you on the back; it's some kind of communication, a message."
Tracey Emin
Looking at Tracey's drawings, the main message I get is the sort you read on public lavatory walls; lots of crude penises and vaginas. Nice things? What nice things? Being an artist? Oh deary me.

In December last year the Royal Academy made her Professor of Drawing. Hard to believe. When I heard it, I didn't believe it. Nor did many others. Surely a Professor of Drawing ought to be able to draw? Just a niggling little thing, I know.

It's bad enough when people with more money than sense, or taste, pay her £10,000s for her "art", but when public money goes into her bank account, it beggars belief. I don't know how much Ms Emin was paid for her latest masterpiece, the cover for the Tube map, but they could have commissioned a seven-year-old and got much the same sort of thing.

I just don't get it. Every time I see one of her creations, I think of the Hans Christian Anderson story about the Emporer's New Clothes, and imagine that all the foolish people who buy her work or write glowingly about it must be caught up in some sort of mass delusion. She has absolutely no talent, apart from a talent for making money and publicising herself. Why can't they see that?

David Lee of The Jackdaw isn't fooled. He's referred to her drawings as "childish scribbles unworthy of even the fridge door". This is his verdict on the tube map drawing:
The latest masterpiece from the Professor of Drawing is the cover for the tube map. She does a fair warbler with its beak open and trots it out at regular intervals. “When in doubt scribble a bird with its beak open,” advised the Prof as she stepped down from the Margate Express. It was commissioned for a special map to be handed out during the Olympics so that all the foreign visitors will be overwhelmed by the wealth of artistic talent in our country. Said the mayor of London, whose brilliant idea it was to approach the Professor: “How appropriate it is that our Olympic map should echo the advice of the mighty Apelles who drew birds as symbols of an athlete’s freedom of spirit.” Meanwhile, the willing idiot in charge of art on the underground spewed out what she always says when a new map is published: “The artwork presents a moving and unique interpretation of the capital.” Mrs Margi Doonham of Nottingham, who was up the smoke bargain-hunting for suicide potions, said after studying her map that she knew a disabled artist who could draw a better bird holding the pencil up his arse.

She likes birds does the Margate Express – and every one a masterpiece. Some years ago we reported on her sculpture outside the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. It was sixty grand’s worth (courtesy of the BBC who for some reason paid for it) of tiny bird on a pole which some unimpressed scouser promptly sawed off. It was found nearby in a jiffy bag and reattached, following which it was nicked again. We are unsure of its current status, but do let us know if you are privy to information.
Dear Boris, I can draw. I went to college and everything. My drawings look like they're supposed to. I've never drawn willies or fannies on toilet walls. I'd be very happy to design an underground map cover. Compared with Ms Emin, my fees would be relatively modest. How about it?

1 comment:

A maker not an artist said...

To a lot of extent, I agree with Emin. I've always said that to be a true artist you need to be able to talk bollocks about what you've created. Repetition of technique and image is something that defines the style of an artist so why should we expect something other than these sketchy drawings?

It's not that I agree with this state of affairs but that's the way it is. It's a bit like saying that you want to a make a London bus but not have it in red.

Perhaps we could combine Enim's bird sculpture with Mrs Doonham's idea and have a £10,000 pencil sharpener?