When I happened to allude, during a talk to some graduate art students, to Tracey Emin’s limited intelligence, my remarks produced a gasp of disapproval from the students. Tracey Emin was clearly their hero. Perhaps I was missing something, so I took the opportunity to brush up on her achievements by visiting her retrospective exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on the south bank. The Hayward is a wretched building, ugly and disfunctional, one of the nastiest pieces of architecture there is. Tracey Emin’s retrospective is equally nasty. She has no artistic skills, to the extent that she can’t draw, or paint or sculpt. Her only talent is the power to shock (as in her exhibit of used tampons) and to publicise herself. One of the ways in which she generates this publicity is to talk about her “fucking high IQ”.
Quite how high her IQ is, can be seen from these quotations taken from a TV interview which was made to promote her retrospective:
On being a mother: “If I’d had children I’d have hung myself by now. I can prove it, cos I’m sitting here now and I didn’t have those children”.
On the work of Damien Hirst: “We all love it. Even if you hate it, you still love it”.
On the public (this, I think,includes me): “What annoys me is when people think all I do is talk about myself. And it’s true, I do”.
(For these quotes, thanks to Michael Deacon).
One of the students at my talk, a feisty redhead, was particularly passionate in her worship of Tracey Emin. A little later I got chatting to her Professor and was surprised to learn that the redhead’s speciality was needlework.
“What kind of needlework?”, I naively enquired. “Female genitalia, mostly”, he replied. Here’s a word of advice for that feisty redhead- Don’t go there, the subject has been done to death already by her hero.