The artist Tracey Emin, who currently has a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (“Tracey Emin: Angel Without You”, until 9 March 2014), has criticised plans for Russia’s first retrospective of the YBAs (Young British Artists) because of the country’s anti-gay laws.
The exhibition is part of a year of Anglo-Russian cultural exchanges and is due to feature early works by Emin, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, among others. It is scheduled to open at Moscow’s Ekaterina Cultural Foundation in September 2014.
Emin tells us that she initially told the British Council and the curator David Thorp, who is co-organising the exhibition, that she could not take part in the show “because of [Russia’s] vile homophobia. So far, I have turned down every offer of a solo show in Russia,” she says. Emin says she is still “very reluctant” to be involved in the exhibition, but will use the opportunity to promote equality. “I can do interviews wearing a rainbow dress. I can shout about gay rights, and I will be heard,” she says.
A spokesman for the British Council says: “If any of the artists or performers we are working with are concerned about going to Russia, we will work with them to ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision.”
• For an interview with Emin, see pp18-19