Museums clash as Van Gogh Letters vie with Tracey Emin’s Facebook status collection

The collected correspondences of two of the world’s greatest artists are going head-to-head in a battle to win the museum-going public’s approval.

On Friday 9th October the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam opens an exhibition to celebrate the publishing of the Vincent van Gogh: the Letters – The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition. Considered as some of the most valuable documents in the world of art, this ground breaking historic publication brings together Van Gogh’s entire correspondence, along with his sketches and notes, to give a full insight into this legendary artist.

However, Friday also sees the opening of another exhibition. Heralding the publishing of Tracey Emin: the collected Facebook status updates, a comprehensive pamphlet reviewing the controversial artist’s life via the media of online social networking, the Croydon Clocktower Museum will be hosting a major retrospective of her work.

‘The Van Gogh letters may well reveal the inner torment of the artist, but the Emin Facebook statuses is just as ground breaking,’ claims author and exhibition organiser Baz Mullins. ‘My pamphlet not only shows the real Tracy Emin but also the inspiration behind some of her most famous works – for example her 1997 piece ‘ Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995’, which can be linked with her Facebook status ‘Christ I’ve been putting it about lately’.’

Other highlights in Mullins’ pamphlet include this revealing Facebook update from 1999: ‘Tracey Emin: needs to make a start on my Turner Prize entry, and still hasn’t got around to making the bed yet. Jesus what a night.’ Later entries also reveal that, like Van Gogh, Emin also suffers for her art: ‘How much tax??? F*cking inland revenue – Where’s my passport?’

‘Van Gogh’s Letters: The Artist Speaks’ runs from October 9 2009-January 3 2010, at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, while ‘Tracey’s Facebook Status Updates’ can be viewed at the Museum of Croydon, in the foyer just left of the toilets.

(Written 7 Oct 2009)

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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