mad tracey from margate

went to see tracey’s big show at the hayward. it’s the last week now and you should go. it’s called ‘love is what you want’, but you don’t love tracey though do you? you should. maybe you even know you should. but she’s like that desperate drunk and over emotional girl at the end of the night, huge smudged panda eyes. fierce and fragile. unpredictable, embarrassing. She’ll befriend you against your will and then tell you something awful that happened to her that you wish you hadn’t heard and cry on you, or vomit. being so very english you’ll try to be polite and see if you can help to whatever extent is required to extricate yourself quickly. but she’s so…so, inappropriate. that’s the thing isn’t it? is it? not a well read middle class man talking archly about art history and it’s role blah bleh she has the temerity to not just be a woman but common too. not merely working class, her fabulous wealth will never make her less brash, her big mouth her own worst enemy. her self involvement is another reason people claim not to like tracey, but it’s a lie. artists are self involved, they work from their own experience and perceptions and mostly thats fine , they chime with our own perceptions or challenge us to look again and so on. it’s what tracey has to say that you don’t like isn’t it? because it might be about her but it’s not just her is it? her experiences are not that unique.

the poster for the show is a new photo and shows tracey running bare arsed down the street trailing the union jack behind her shoulders like a victorious olympian. it’s very funny, in fact she’s often very funny, it’s not all blood and misery and pain you don’t want to know about. now there’s one of her neon pieces in number 10. which is very funny, her curious political pronoucements of this year aside. go see it, the show starts with all the blockbuster stuff, although no tent and no bed so from the start you have to look beyond that and it winds round to smaller less grandstanding work, the ‘menphis’ stuff is more like an illustrated book of short stories, it’s quite lovely. and so on.

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