Fine Art

Five questions with Tracey Emin

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Emin’s I Promise to Love You at the Cosmopolitan
Photo: Erik Kabik

British artist Tracey Emin has six of her neon works displayed on the Cosmopolitan’s marquee and other digital screens at the resort. The love-themed exhibit, titled I Promise to Love You, plays every hour on the hour through April 2015.

What inspired a Las Vegas show? I was asked by Art Production Fund, as they had seen a similar project in Times Square in 2013.

How did you go about selecting works for this environment, for this audience? I try to choose very uplifting, positive neons that are far removed from commercial advertising.

Tracey Emin arrives at GQ Men of the Year Awards, on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 in London.

Tracey Emin arrives at GQ Men of the Year Awards, on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 in London.

Do you see Las Vegas fitting within the context of your work, and your work fitting within the context of Vegas, or is it more of a clashing of ideas and voices? It's sexy, it's exhilarating and visually it works really well, so for those reasons it's great.

What inspired you to work in neon, and how does the experience differ from making your drawings? I grew up in Margate in the southeast coast of England. In its heyday there was neon and lights everywhere. It’s something which is very natural to me, unlike if you grew up in suburbia.

Had you been to Las Vegas? I went to Las Vegas 20 years ago on a road trip with a boyfriend who I loved very much, who now is one of my best friends [and] who I respect and admire. There is always a temptation to run off and get married. We were supposed to be there for 48 hours staying at the Caesars Palace hotel, staying in the King Suite. Everything was under control until the last half hour when I walked past a quarter-dollar slot machine and casually threw a quarter in, and as I pulled the one-arm bandit I hit the jackpot and $500 poured out in quarters. It was crazy. We then spent the next 24 hours in Las Vegas having a really wild time. I'm really looking forward to going back.

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