David Thompson


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October 05, 2009



Thanks for the clip of Emin pissed out of her mind. It's the most entertaining bit of her career.


She also forgot the effects of taxes on spending...

17.5% for VAT,
and Duty at 80% (she seems to like the fags and booze)

probably soak up rather a lot of what she has left.

If only socialism was only for socialists, she could be taxed just to fund the arts...


"Typically unassuming, she appears to be suggesting that artists, and people who peddle tat masquerading as art, warrant some special dispensation. One not available to less elevated beings."

Witness the luvvies in full righteous indignation over la affaire du Polanski, and you can see she isn't the only one to have that notion...


Of the handful of art blogs I’ve scanned that mention Emin’s statement, most take the line that she’s talentless and “greedy” and should hasten abroad. Well, her talents are hard to detect and her martyrdom isn’t entirely convincing. (Emin has a home and studio in Provence, so it’s not exactly a hardship as most of us understand the term.) But I’ve yet to see an art blog address the basic issue of what constitutes an acceptable and/or equitable level of tax, or the broader issue of public subsidy of artists and whether that’s fair to those who foot the bill.


My god, you brits are paying this clueless wench over 150 pounds a year for such radical artistic original ideas like not cleaning her room? Hell, any 10 year old is an artist at that level. Perhaps you should point out that the supply of such "artists" so exceeds demand that she is even less than worthless. I was in the UK when that turner prize was awarded and remembered thinking, no big deal, this flash in the pan will dry up and disappear as soon as she can drink/smoke/inject away all the prize money. Stories like these remind me of the "50 years of Italian minimalism" exhibit I saw at the Guggenheim in NYC about 10 years ago. There was a table stacked with tuna cans labeled as "57 cans of the artist's shit", at which point I concluded that the problem with minimalists is that there's too damn many of them.


"Stories like these remind me of the "50 years of Italian minimalism" exhibit I saw at the Guggenheim in NYC about 10 years ago. There was a table stacked with tuna cans labeled as "57 cans of the artist's shit"..."

Ahh, the Gugggenheim. Lovely building, dreadful contents.

When I was in NY on holiday 20 years ago, we walked in, saw the main 'exhibit' was an igloo made out of chickenwire and covered in pitta bread painted blue, and decided to go visit the Bronx Zoo instead...


yea use the 100 lb sledgehammer on everyone but me because i'm special


"The proposed tax regime is unfair to struggling artists like me who earn over £150,000 a year," said Emin. "How can I be expected to fully realise my artistic visions when the tax man takes half of all the money stupid millionaires and galleries give me?" "We don't care about the tax thing. She wants to go, we all want her to go. It's win-win." said everybody who had ever seen one of her 'installations'. "She seems to like France, and France is entirely welcome to her unmade beds and used johnnies."



The problem, though, is the new law won’t just apply to tragically under-talented narcissistic bints.

It’s interesting that objecting to excessive taxation is often regarded as a position with no conceivable moral basis, as if it were by default improper or simply mean. Those who complain are dismissed as greedy and wicked and so the actual issue of fairness is ignored. (Presumably “social justice” only applies to poor people and those deemed deserving by certain commentators.) As typified by Joan Smith in today’s Guardian:


This presumption leads to some curious contrasts, as when Michael Caine voiced his umbrage on the same issue and was pecked at by the ludicrous Seumas Milne:

“Note the phrases ‘naked class egotism’ and ‘unchallengeable entitlement.’ Now to whom might they apply? Those who wish to retain just under half of their own earnings, or those who feel entitled to confiscate even more from others in order to indulge their own moral sentiments, or pretensions thereof? Do notions of greed, presumption and selfishness apply only to people above a certain level of income? Or can they, for instance, be said of some recipients of welfare? Can such things be said of the state, or of the righteous Mr Milne? To how much of your income is the government morally entitled?”


James S

The class warriors on CiF are showing off their principles: "Good riddance." "Piss off." "Fuck off." "Let’s try 60%!"

Bring back the 1970s, comrades!

John Meredith

It always surprises me that Emin engenders so much fury when she at least makes her money by producing things that people want to buy rather than just sucking up subsidies or off-loading to public galleries. I also think her art is (when it is good) very touching, thoughtful and affecting. Did you see the sculptures she did for Folkestone? Really beautiful and surprising, especially compared to so much other macho, bombastic and banal public art. The tent was great too. Surely some of you enjoyed the experience of lying back in that (even if you felt you shouldn't)? If you didn't climb in, I don't think you can really get it, though. Whether it is worth the money is neither here nor there, if some millionaire thinks it is, who are we to argue?


David, how does it feel to end up defending Tracey Emin, Noel Edmonds and Andrew Lloyd Webber? Hilarious.



I’m not “defending” anyone. Unless you think “tragically under-talented narcissistic bint” is a term of high regard. I’m raising a few basic questions. For instance, to how much of your income is the government morally entitled? (I realise you haven’t responded to *any* of my previous questions on any occasion you’ve dropped by, but I do live in hope.)

And morality aside, there are practical issues. As noted in the Michael Caine post, plenty of analysts and commentators (including some on the left) fear the new tax rate could actually result in *less* tax revenue, meaning less money for public services and all of this “social justice”. If optimising revenue is the goal, isn’t it worth asking whether the new measures could backfire and be sub-optimal? Emin’s status as a confused and fatuous bint is irrelevant to the principle - and others faced with the same financial disincentive may be people trying to grow their businesses, employers, or would-be employers.

The widespread disregard for this possible negative outcome – as displayed in several Guardian comment threads - suggests an ideological or emotional motive, and not an attractive one. Looking through the Guardian discussions, the broad consensus seems to be that people who earn a lot of money – and pay a lot of tax – should just, and I quote, “fuck off.” Well, if tens of thousands of high earners do as requested, it’s hard to see how that benefits Britain or any of the people who live here. Presumably, those saying “fuck off” would be happy to see more unemployment benefit being chiselled out of people with *average* earnings and those only slightly better off than people on the dole.


Whatever you think of the G and many of its readers, you have to admit some of them are sharp as a razor. Here's three comments from the following thread:

"I'm not sure how we'll all carry on if Trace leaves.
But we must be strong and show the Dunkirk spirit, for the sake of future generations."

"She's coming here to France to pay less tax?
I expect she'll be off to Iceland next for the scorching sunshine."

"Just how many 'incentives' do you need not to make your bed? I don't make my bed for fuck all on a daily basis."

Mark G

Does she need help packing?

Spiny Norman

The thing I found rather odd was that even though she makes enough money to be so hand-wringingly concerned about new taxes on her income, she still thinks the government (taxpayers!) should be subsidising her "work".

Am I missing something here, or does it make no sense to me because I'm not one of those "higher beings"?

James S

David, I don't think rv's coming back (again)... :)

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