In her home country Tracey Emin is too easy to hate as artist or personality (in her case deliberately the same thing), partly because she is so extremely famous and partly because of the scantiness on which this celebrity is based. But in an America hardly aware of the sheer famousness of Emin, she can be judged fairly as one of the frankest figures to barge their way into haute visual culture in a long while. Her first show at Lehmann Maupin had an excellent teenage erotic cabin and an array of her oddly irresistible graphite scratchings (see below), works that can catch the heart of even her harshest critics. Her new show (until 19 October) has a deliciously open title “I think it’s in my head” (recalling a famous 60s conceptual exhibition and specific Christopher Wool/Jon Kessler/Paul Auster collaborative sculpture) and a savage array of brutally revelatory scraps. The only question is how long before the “Frida Kahlo of Margate” gets to collaborate with her near-namesake, the equally raunchy Eminem. The ideal contrast and comparison is provided at White Columns with an ambitious show on 1970s feminist art entitled “Gloria” gathering a host of smart activists and their subversive ploys (until 20 October). There could be no more instructive seminar on the politics of female identity than to study these two shows together; a shuttle bus surely should daily link Emin with her feminist forebears, fellows and
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tracey Emin: I think it’s in my head at Lehman Maupin and Gloria: another look at Feminist art in the 1970s at White Columns'