Saturday, November 14, 2009

Curmudgeon's corner once more

Today’s New York Times has an article by Eric Konigsberg that addresses the supposed puzzle of why (not so) Young British Artist Tracey Emin is so popular in Britain while she is relatively unknown in the US.

According to Konigsberg, “Emin first gained notoriety in 1997 for her contribution to the famous 'Sensation' show at the Royal Academy of Art: a tent embroidered with the names of everybody with whom she had ever shared a bed. Soon after came an installation consisting of her bed itself, littered with blood-stained underwear, condoms and lubricant, which was shown at the Tate Gallery in 1999 and got her on the short list for the Turner Prize. . . . In 2007 she was chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale.”

In Britain she has ranked as “an object of public fascination”--a celebrity in short--for more than a decade. In her native land her notoriety ranks just behind that of Damien Hirst, another very wealthy supercharlatan.

Emin is not well known in the US--not at all it seems. By the same token the American mountebank Jeff Koons is not well known in Britain. Could it be that people in both countries are right in their negative appraisals?

One should be bold enough to say it. Neither Emin nor Koons is an artist in any meaningful sense of the word. They are simply celebrities of a particularly vile kind, who are master manipulators of publicity. Emperor's new clothes, anyone?



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