Opening December 4, 2013, Tracey Emin: Angel Without You Showcases Neon Works by Acclaimed British Artist, Including a New Work Created Especially for MOCA’s Exhibition Part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami will kick off Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 with the opening of Tracey Emin: Angel Without You, the first American museum exhibition dedicated to the acclaimed British artist Tracey Emin.
On view from December 4, 2013 through March 9, 2014, this is the first-ever exhibition to focus predominantly on Emin’s use of neon, an important material in the artist’s practice, beginning with her iconic The Tracey Emin Museum (1995), which will open the show. The exhibition will explore how Emin’s neons played an essential role in the development of her work, marking a shift from her early diaristic and confessional style to a more cryptic, multifaceted form of expression.
Organized by MOCA as part of the Knight Exhibition Series and curated by the museum’s Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater, Tracey Emin: Angel Without You comprises more than 60 works that span the past two decades. The exhibition title is drawn from a new large-scale neon work Emin is creating in MOCA’s courtyard for the exhibition. Tracey Emin: Angel Without You highlights the culmination of the artist’s longstanding relationship with MOCA, which was the first American museum to purchase one of her works when it acquired her seminal film Why I Never Became a Dancer in 1998. This film—which depicts scenes of Emin’s childhood home, the British seaside resort, Margate, replete with vintage neon signs—explores the story of Emin’s own tumultuous adolescence and loss of innocence. Why I Never Became a Dancer (1995) will be included in the exhibition, which will also feature several of Emin’s most notable neon works, such as Sorry Flowers Die (1999) and I can feel your smile (2005). Many of these works consist of epigrams that have been transcribed into neon from Emin’s own handwriting by neon studios working under the artist’s supervision.MOCA’s exhibition will examine the importance of writing and calligraphic line in Emin’s freefloating neon works. “As a towering figure in Britain’s contemporary art community—and arguably one of the most significant female artists of her generation—Tracey Emin is long overdue for a solo museum exhibition in the United States,” said Clearwater. “As an early supporter of Tracey’s work, we’re thrilled to mount this unprecedented exploration of her neon sculptures—a medium that is not only appropriate to the neon-rich cityscape of South Florida, but has its origins in Emin’s hometown as captured in the film Why I Never Became a Dancer.” Widely regarded for their universality of message, Emin’s works are frequently inspired by the subject of love and the artist’s search for it, in all its poignant and sometimes painful complexity. Emin often substitutes pronouns for individual names in such works as Love is What You Want (2011) or You Forgot to Kiss My Soul (2001), so that the phrases can be read as an instance of Emin addressing herself, her viewer, her lover, or even God. Others, such as Emin’s 2012 Nothing is Real, are figurative sculpture created from contiguous neon tubing. In tandem with MOCA’s exhibition, Skira Rizzoli is publishing a comprehensive book on Emin’s neons, also titled Angel Without You, which considers this body of work in relation to the artist’s drawings, paintings, sculptures, embroideries, neons, and video stills as well as her own writing. Compiled in close collaboration with Emin, the book will include an essay by Clearwater about Emin’s development, work, artistic influences, and spiritual and poetic inspirations, especially the thirteenth-century Persian mystic poet Rumi as well as an essay by the contemporary artist and writer Gary Indiana. It will be released in late November 2013.
About Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin (b. 1963, London) is internationally recognized for the blunt and revealing style that
pervades her work. Drawing from personal experiences, Emin reveals emotional situations with
brutal honesty and humor in a wide variety of media, including painting, drawing, embroidery,
neon, installation, sculpture, and film. Raised in the seaside town of Margate on the English coast, Emin studied printmaking at
Maidstone College of Art, Kent, and continued her studies at Royal College of Arts, London,
where she earned a Master’s degree in painting. Emin’s first commercial gallery exhibition was
held at London’s White Cube Gallery in 1993. In 1999, Lehmann Maupin presented Tracey
Emin’s first solo gallery exhibition in the United States, Every Part of Me’s Bleeding. Emin
subsequently exhibited her infamous installation “My Bed” at the Tate Gallery, for which she
was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. In 2007, she was chosen to represent Great Britain at the
Venice Biennale, becoming the second female artist to ever do so. That same year, Emin was
made a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College
of Art, a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and a Doctor of Philosophy from London
Metropolitan University. In January 2013, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Emin a Commander of
the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.
Emin is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York and White Cube in London. From May 2 to June 22, 2013, Lehmann Maupin will present Emin’s fifth solo gallery show in New York. Tracey Emin: I Followed You To The Sun features a series of new bronze sculptures, paintings and drawings, embroideries, and a short film. In addition to MOCA North Miami’s collection, Emin’s work can be found in many of the world’s most prestigious public collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; British Museum, London; Camden Arts Center, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Denver Art Museum; Garage Center for Contemporary Culture,Moscow; Hara Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Saatchi Collection, London; San Francisco Museum of Art; Tate Gallery, London; and Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis.