£80k fund pays for Emin work

Neon artwork by Tracey Emin which has been purchased for the Grundy Art Gallery
Neon artwork by Tracey Emin which has been purchased for the Grundy Art Gallery

She sold an unmade bed for £2.2m so a piece of neon art by Tracey Emin is probably a snitch at less than £80,000.

For bosses at Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery have purchased ‘I Know I Know I Know’ using a grant from national fundraising charity for art The Art Fund.

The piece, which was displayed as part of the recent NEON: The Charged Line exhibition which ran from September last year until January, will now be part of the permanent collection at the council-owned gallery on Queen Street.

The New Collecting Award enables curators to pursue new avenues of collecting for their museums and granted Grundy curator Richard Parry £80,000 to buy key artworks relating to light.

Mr Parry said: “This is an especially exciting purchase for the gallery marking the beginning of our new collecting strand around light.

“Tracey Emin works with neon in a particularly powerful way, hand drawn messages writ large that are both intimate and affecting.

“As someone who grew up in Margate and who has family connections in Blackpool, Tracey is someone who has an intimate understanding of what it means to live in a seaside town and I believe her work speaks particularly to audiences here.

“I don’t think there could be a more fitting starting point on which to build the new light collection.”

Blackpool Council said it could not reveal the price paid for the artwork, but said not all the fund had been used.

Emin’s neon work sells for figures ranging from £72,500 to £91,250 according to auctioneer Christies’ website.

‘I Know I Know I Know’, is one of the earliest works in neon by Emin whose art also includes the notorious ‘My Bed’ which sold for £2.2m in 2014.

Coun Luke Taylor, lead member for arts at Blackpool Council, said: “The funding from the New Collecting Award was designed to help galleries purchase culturally important pieces of work and we are delighted the Grundy has been able to gather the support to acquire this fantastic artwork.”