What is it? You probably did not guess, but it’s Tracey Emin’s bed. It’s the real bed, with real dirty sheets and other assorted real detritus. It has no redeeming aesthetic value, but Emin is an artist, so it’s a work of art. Apparently, it made art history… because it’s a statement… of what, no one seems to know.
Now, you can own it, for upwards of $2,000,000.
The Daily Beast reports:
“My Bed” will be sold at auction at Christie’s on July 1, and has been given an estimate price of between £800,000 and £1.2m (approximately $1.35 million to $2 million), which seems astonishingly low given the piece’s cultural impact. Indeed, David Maupin, Emin’s dealer in New York who sold the bed to Saatchi in 2000 for £150,000 (about $252,000), has said he thinks the Christie’s estimate is too low. “It’s historic. It’s priceless.”
How does Emin explain herself? Like this:
The bed was made at a time of Emin’s life when, as she put it, “I had a kind of mini nervous breakdown in my very small flat and didn't get out of bed for four days. And when I did finally get out of bed, I was so thirsty I made my way to the kitchen crawling along the floor. My flat was in a real mess—everything everywhere, dirty washing, filthy cabinets, the bathroom really dirty, everything in a really bad state. I crawled across the floor, pulled myself up on the sink to get some water, and made my way back to my bedroom, and as I did I looked at my bedroom and thought, ‘Oh, my God. What if I'd died and they found me here?’
“And then I thought, ‘What if here wasn't here? What if I took out this bed—with all its detritus, with all the bottles, the shitty sheets, the vomit stains, the used condoms, the dirty underwear, the old newspapers—what if I took all of that out of this bedroom and placed it into a white space? How would it look then?’ And at that moment I saw it, and it looked fucking brilliant.”
Apparently, she sees it as a moment captured in time. And she thinks that this agglomeration of vomit stains and used condoms and dirty underwear looks brilliant. It also looks shameless. It also looks as though someone does not have an aesthetic.
Of course, the joke is on any collector who believes this rot. And yet, it is fair to notice that the collector who bought this is will soon be laughing his way to the bank.