• Tracey Emin

In 1999, Tracey Emin rocked the art world when she was short-listed for the prestigious Turner Prize. The work that got her there was My Bed. Transported directly from her bedroom, it was Emin’s real-life bed—the one to which she’d confined herself for days following a rough breakup. Strewn with empty liquor bottles, soiled underwear, and ominously stained sheets, My Bed was perfectly emblematic of Emin’s particular synthesis of confrontation and vulnerability. She became well known in the mid-90s for Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995, a tent appliqued with over 100 names. The title of the piece was deliberately provocative. Emin is known for being brash and exhibitionist. She’s cultivated the persona of the tousled trollop, unafraid to flaunt her love of sex and drink. But among the names in the tent were her grandmother, with whom she used to fall asleep while listening to the radio, and two numbered fetuses, representing the mother she never came to be. There were also boyfriends, lovers, and relative strangers who’d “shagged her against a wall.” Emin’s work is raw and wounded, tinged with the kind of bravado that isn’t fooling anyone.