December 5, 2013

Tracey From The Shop: Rothko Comfort Blanket

Emin_Lucas_Rothko_Comfort_Blanket_1993-1.jpg

For six months in 1993 the young British artists Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas opened what we'd now call a pop-up shop in east London called The Shop. They sold little doodads and objets that they'd made, including, apparently, Rothko Comfort Blanket.

The work was made by cutting up Emin's old baby blanket and stitching it with yellow thread to match the color combination of a Mark Rothko painting at the Tate, which had made an epiphanic impression on the artist as a young student.

Bonnie Clearwater, who curated a show of Emin's work that just opened at the North Miami MOCA, feels Rothko Comfort Blanket is significant and relates to the personal, emotional breakthroughs in the artist's work in 1993.

It was apparently significant enough that Emin and Lucas didn't burn it along with the rest of the unsold merchandise from The Shop. Then in 2010, when Emin, now all grown up and fancy and famous, was invited to do a pop-up shop-in-shop at Selfridge's department store, she made new Rothko Comfort Blankets, without Lucas's name, and with a slightly different tag, in an edition of 100, for £150. People are now scalping the scrap for £625. We are not amused.

Reading into Tracey Emin's Baby Blanket [artnews]
background, related: Tracey Emin & Sarah Lucas, The Last Night of the Shop 3.7.93, 1993 [tate.org.uk]

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