Thursday, March 28, 2002

An amazing moment in modern art....

Tracy Emin finds her lost cat poster has become an art form

By Joanna Bale (The Times)

WHEN Tracy Emin’s beloved cat, Docket, disappeared from her home in Spitalfields, the artist thought nothing of pinning up a few posters on lamp-posts, appealing for help in finding him.

Perhaps the outrageous doyenne of BritArt should have realised that when your most famous work of art is an unmade bed deemed to be worth £150,000, there is no end to what people might regard as your latest masterpiece.

For no sooner had the notices gone up, than they were torn down as rumours circulated that they could be worth a fortune. A neighbour in Miss Emin’s trendy East London artists’ enclave, which also houses Gilbert and George, said: “Apparently people have been quoted £500 a poster.”

Docket has, after all, appeared on a previous work by Miss Emin when she donated signed Polaroid photographs of herself holding the black and white cat to a charity raffle at the opening last year of the exhibition Ant Noises 2 at the Saatchi gallery.

While enthusiastically endorsing her other works, including a tent embroidered with the names of all the people she has slept with, Miss Emin’s agent insisted that this time, the poster was definitely “not art”.

A spokeswoman for the White Cube gallery, which also handles the works of Damien Hirst, said: “Tracy does deal with memorabilia, but the posters are not works of art, it’s simply a notice of her missing cat to alert neighbours. It’s not a conceptual piece of work and it has nothing to do with her art.”

Luckily for Miss Emin, the misunderstanding — and the fact that no reward was offered for the cat’ — did not prevent her finding Docket. The two were reunited earlier this week. The spokeswoman added: “Tracy was very upset about losing her cat, but Docket has been found.”

And perhaps not a moment too soon: Jake and Dinos Chapman, local residents and Emin’s BritArt contemporaries, helped to cement their controversial reputation with a gruesome series of paintings depicting tortured moggies.

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