Auntie Doris’s Great Works of Art #9: Tracy Emin – My Bed, 1998

Some people only do their art to shock, like him with his tins of shite. Tracy Emin is one of those as far as I’m concerned. Only she went to the effort of displaying her messy bed in art galleries all over the world, and apparently it’s worth over a million pounds now.
Well, million pounds or no million pounds, if that was my bed, I certainly wouldn’t be parading it about for all and sundry to be gawping at. Or if I was, I would have ruddy well tidied it up first. I would have washed the sheets too. The Lord alone knows what some of them stains are. I would have washed them knickers and tights too. And folded them up properly and put them away. Honestly. As far as I can see, the only people who would go paying millions of pounds for that sort of thing would be filthy ruddy men who like looking at women’s dirty undies. And I wouldn’t put it past them to do a bit more than just looking. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. And if that Charles Saatchi was here I would say it to his face an’all. Filthy so and so. I wonder what his wife said when he came home with that lot. Or did he keep it in the garden shed like my Raymond did with those magazines?
There was all sorts of stuff on the carpet next to it an’all, used rubber durexes, pregnancy testing kits, slippers, the ruddy lot.
Mind you, that Tracy Emin is a bit of a filthy hussy anyway. She knows no ruddy shame. For one of her other works of art she got a tent and wrote the names of every man she had ever had carnal relations with on it. Knowing her, I bet she missed a fair few out because she was so drunk at the time that she had forgotten who they were by the next morning.
My mother once had the initials of every man that she had ever had carnal relations with embroidered on a handkerchief, and then she gave him it for Christmas. He wasn’t impressed though. My father thought that having your initials embroidered on a handkerchief was nothing more than vanity. I would have loved to have seen his face if he ever found out that his name was in Tracy Emin’s tent. Not that it would be, unless she had ever had it off with someone who had the same name as him. Which is doubtful. Besides, he wouldn’t have found out because he wouldn’t have been seen dead within a mile of her ruddy tent. Not that he would have been, because although he died and got cremated years before she was even born, the bed has never been displayed anywhere near where his ashes are, which is probably in a cellar somewhere in the St Dymphna’s Hospital for the Criminally Bewildered. I reckon that if Tracy ever got hold of them could probably use them to make some sort of art work. Then they might fetch a bit of money for charity or something.

Auntie Doris’s Great Works of Art #5: Piero Manzoni – Merda D’Artista 1961


Ruddy Norah! When I first heard about this I thought “I’ve heard it all now!” That Manzoni was ruddy crackers. “Merda D’Artista” was the name he gave to each of the 90 cans he had made that he said were full of his own shite, and he said that they were worth their weight in gold, and managed to sell them to collectors at the same price as if they were ruddy gold an’all. Actually, he wasn’t crackers at all was he? He was effectively producing gold out of his arse, “like that goose in Jack and the Beanstalk,” only I don’t think that the goose’s eggs came out of its arse.
Apparently he had just offloaded a load of balloons that he had blown up himself and called “Fiato D’Artista” (or artist’s breath in English) and he wanted to see if he could stretch the idea a bit further, and before that he had invited visitors to a gallery to consume his art by eating boiled eggs with his thumbprint on them.
What I never ruddy understand is how on earth you manage to become an artist by messing about like that. If I had ever tried any of the stunts that he did, no one would have forked out any money for them.
Maybe he just had plenty of money and connections in the art world. He certainly had at least one connection that helped him along. His father owned a canning factory. He must have had quite a unique relationship with him to be able to get him to can ninety pieces of shite in 30g portions though.
That’s 2,700 grammes of shite, nearly 6lbs! Did he save it in a bucket or something until he had enough? Or did he keep tripping down to his fathers factory every now and again? Were the cans full of shite, spread evenly like a thick soup? Or were they in some sort of juice, like a tin of peaches? How much does an average visit to the toilets worth weigh any road? A damn sight less than six pounds I’ll bet! I would have been tempted to water it down, or mix it with a bit of angel delight or something,
And what did the poor workers in his dad’s canning factory make of the strange job the boss and his son had sorted out for them? It’s a wonder they didn’t down toolds and go on strike. Or was it an after hours job, with just the artist and his father manning the machines after the home time whistle? They would have had a job on getting rid of the smell before the morning though.
He would never get away with it these days. The health and safety people would see to that. You have to write stuff like “May contain traces of nuts” on anything these days, if there is even the slightest chance of some nuts getting into whatever it is you are putting in the can.
I wonder if Manzoni thought of writing “può contenere tracce di mais” (may contain traces of sweetcorn) on the cans.
Any road, them cans are still around, and the last time one went up for sale at Sotheby’s it went for nearly £100,000. An expensive piece of business indeed.