Wednesday, July 2, 2014

News You Can't Use: Artist Tracey Emin Whoops as Her "My Bed" Fetches Over $4 million

Some guy once observed that one of the signs of civilization collapsing is "art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original." This is great news for us, of course, because our artistic outputs have never been better. From billionaire industrialist vampires that like it rough to the sustained excellence created by network television it's an embarrassment of riches on the cultural front. Now we can add the bed of some woman with a busted face to this already fully stocked pantry.

Tracey Emin's "My Bed," complete with cigarette butts, crumpled sheets and underwear, sold for 2.5 million pounds ($4.25 million) on Tuesday, a record for the artist, who was present at the auction and applauded and whooped delightedly.

"Yee-haw! I can't believe this shit actually worked!"

It calls to mind the story of the boy who decided to sell lemonade for 100k per glass. "Do you really expect a lot of people to pay such an outrageous price?" someone asks.

"I only need one."

Emin's 1998 work, which fetched over 1 million pounds above its top estimated price, and a Francis Bacon portrait of Lucian Freud, which sold for 11.5 million pounds, were the show stoppers in a 75 strong collection of portrait-themed works auctioned by Christie's.

I'm guessing the portrait of the first viscount of St. Alban was a real, legitimated painting, you know like back in the bad days before Smart Phones and Instagram, and not a picture of some guy named Francis made out of literal bacon. You have to ask, just to be sure.

The auction house said it was very rare for an artist to attend an auction, and it demonstrated the connection Emin felt to the highly personal work.

See, not a half-assed stunt to take money from wealthy fools at all! This is "highly personal," in the same way what I flushed down the toilet earlier today is.

The price reached for Emin's work, described by the auction house as an iconic piece of 1990s British art, quadrupled her previous sale price record, but Christie's said the market was not overheating.

"In a fair world my soiled bed would be sold for Manhattan Island."

This is art. (Dat face, doe.)

People are really making distinct choices. Its a very subjective response to works," Brett Gorvy, Christie's international head of post-war and contemporary art, said after the sale.

He was later seen literally swimming in money.

Around 190 bidders from 28 countries took part in the auction, Christie's said, with interest from Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Their interests and motives ranged from "get something for that wing of the museum where the art students sneak off to fornicate" to "prove I'm a man of culture despite my total and complete debasement."

But the price was a relatively poor showing for a Bacon piece compared with his recent record-breaking at auction.

The massive, white-hot popularity of the man who arguably created empiricism. They just go crazy for that Baconian method, man.

Some of the proceeds from the Bacon sale will be diverted to two charities championed by Dahl, and by his family since his death in 1990.

I honestly thought we'd talk about that whole "bed thing" more.

All the buyers from the auction chose to remain anonymous, meaning Emin will have to wait to find out whether her Turner short-listed work will end up in a museum, a wish she expressed the week before.

Totally Dissipated Wealthy Bastards With Horrible Taste, Anonymous.  Step One: admit you can't control your need to buy ordinary items from someone who looks like they were hit in the face with a sack of nickels.

Also, "This belongs in a museum!" shouts Dr. Jones as he battles Poison Claw assassins for the possession of empty cigarette packs and maybe a bottle or two.

Fifteen years ago, the startlingly human elements of the work, which includes discarded condoms and stained sheets, caused a sensation, raising questions about what was and was not art.

In unrelated news, that guy I mentioned earlier also thought "obsession with sex and perversions of sex" was not a sign of societal health. Like I said, unrelated. Don't know why I brought that up.

Speaking ahead of the auction, Emin told Reuters TV that the work felt like "a ghost."

This is one ghost that deserves to be busted.

"I feel quite sad, and I feel that it's like a fragment of time," she added.($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)

I like how this article abruptly ends with an exchange rate, possibly the only information of any value in the entire thing. It's late, but we'll take it.

Check Out My Books! Millions of Dollars not Required!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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