Angel Without You

Tracey Emin, essays by Bonnie Clearwater and Gary Indiana. Skira Rizzoli, $60 (216p) ISBN 978-0-8478-4115-8
Photographic reproductions of 103 neon works dominate this compact and satisfying catalogue, which accompanies British artist Emin’s first American solo show at North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with most images featuring Emin’s series of bold, pithy phrases rendered in neon in the artist’s handwriting. Scribbled declarations like “I could have Loved my Innocence” are accompanied by abstract line drawings, many repeating an awkwardly posed sexualized female body. In the book’s concluding essays, artist and writer Indiana focuses on the novelty and freshness of Emin’s “first-person-singular approach,” while the museum’s executive director and chief curator, Clearwater, discusses the artist’s interest in love, the soul, and the relationship between writing and drawing. Clearwater also traces Emin’s interest in blending writing, visual art, and immediate, visceral, emotional experiences to influences such as Rumi, a Persian poet, and artists like Rothko, Picasso, and Edvard Munch, whom Emin honors with several neon abstractions based on “The Scream.” Clearwater’s guidance, complemented by Indiana’s depiction of Emin’s messy spirit, makes this a worthwhile exploration of the major themes in the artist’s work. The greatest pleasures, though, are the clever, moody word images that appear throughout. Illus. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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