Thursday, May 29, 2014

The End of Civilization As We Know It

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.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I knew immediately it is Tracey Emin's bed. It was the celebrated, much discussed work of "art" when I lived in England. It is all such a scam. Art critics hyping the avant garde, investors and gallery owners making a mint, artists flaunting their superior, "epater les bourgeois" mindset, and a bemused public and press looking on. Remember the hyping of Basquiat in the early 1990s. Is there anything less "avant garde" than the "avant garde" nowadays?

Lastango said...

I'd bid, but I already have several just like it around the house.

Unknown said...

I tip my hat to anyone who can sell their dirty bed for $2 million.

Sam L. said...

That person will need a sign notifying the maid that "This Must Not Be Touched" (in a language she/he can read) and a cordon around the area--or a locked room or a plexiglass enclosure.

Anonymous said...

"It is immoral to allow suckers to keep their money."

Murphy's Law.


Anonymous said...

Could be worse. At least it's not her toilet.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want a used bed?

I'll charge only $100,000.

Mark McGreevey said...

What next?

Will artists photograph the bums of San Francisco, drunk in their vomit, sleeping on the streets in cardboard boxes?

Uh, yes, they will and they do.

Normal people who work and keep their lives together: BORRRRRRRING.

We have to focus on the LOSERS AND BOOZERS so that we can feel, uh, let's see, superior?

I wonder if Elliot Rodgers kept his bed neat and tidy?

His car looked pretty clean as did his face, hair and clothes.

Let's put his videos up for auction to help pay for some of his victims' medical bills.

Sicko's can bid on his "works of art", including his car, guns, and video equipment, and all proceeds will help those innocents.

Sam L. said...

Tip, I think that's P.T. Barnum's law.

Murphy's is widely know as "If something can go wrong, it will."

Anonymous said...

It's not about what she did. It's about who she is. She's a celebrity artist, so whatever she does has value.

Religious people used to collect relics of saints.

We love degenerates, so we pay big money for their 'relics'.

Anonymous said...

So, how does one become a celebrity artist?
After all, the likes of Emin are dime-a-dozen in art schools all across the world.

Why her and not them?

I guess it's about the knack for self-promotion, making the right connections, grabbing the right kind of attention from elite media circles, creating the right kind of ideological buzz(such as critique of 'patriarchy'). Today, subversion is a brand appropriated by the elites, so one has to learn to be subversive in the way that is most marketable and approved by elite galleries and media.

And I guess Emin had the right kind of 'ugly'. Narcissism of the ugly. More equal that way.