EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Tracey Emin’s anger over No 10 artwork is ‘lame’, says Grayson Perry
Tracey Emin no doubt expected to win plaudits from right-on friends in the art world when she demanded last week that her £250,000 neon sign artwork, More Passion, be removed from Downing Street.
Referring to the string of lockdown parties held there, she said: ‘I feel More Passion is the last thing this present Government needs. This current situation is shameful.’
But the artist, best known for her My Bed installation, has been handbagged by cross-dressing ceramicist Grayson Perry. The Turner Prize-winner calls her behaviour ‘lame’.
Tracey Emin (right) has been called ‘lame’ by Grayson Perry (left) after she demanded Downing Street remove her £250,000 neon sign artwork, More Passion, following revelations of parties during lockdown
Artist Tracey Emin has called for her neon-artwork sign ‘More Passion’ to be removed from Downing Street
Like Emin, Perry has works in the Government Art Collection. But, unlike her, he wouldn’t dream of making demands about where they can be displayed. ‘My work has been in the offices of people I may not like, but I don’t complain,’ he tells me.
Speaking at the launch party for the book Bacon In Moscow, by James Birch, Perry adds: ‘I thought what she did was a bit lame.’
Her gesture was, he suggests, rendered even more pathetic by the fact that she’s supported the Conservatives in the past.
‘Considering she is one of the few artists that has come out as a voting Tory, it seemed a bit ironic.’
Boris Johnson and staff pictured with wine in Downing Street garden in May 2020
In 2012, Grayson admitted he was less than pleased to find out then Chancellor George Osborne had displayed his art.
‘There was a moment when he had my Print For A Politician in his office, which didn’t thrill me,’ he said at the time. ‘You have to be really careful who you get associated with because you don’t want a toxic brand.’
But he didn’t ask for it to be removed. Despite being a darling of the fashionable Left, Perry has previously confessed that he finds people with conservative views ‘friendlier’.
He said: ‘The Left is more venal and has more antipathy to the opposition than the other way round. I would say the Right on average are friendlier and more open.’
Emin, 58, changed her allegiance from Labour after meeting David Cameron at a Conservative dinner. She was so impressed that she designed and donated the neon sign.
Kate’s new scene: she’s gone green
As the daughter of Oscar winner Goldie Hawn and pop star Bill Hudson, Kate Hudson is used to being overshadowed.
So now the actress has found a way to make sure she stands out.
Kate Hudson turned heads when she arrived at The Drew Barrymore Show in New York dressed head-to-toe in neon green
Hudson, 42, who has a son with British rocker Matt Bellamy, frontman for band Muse, went out this week dressed head-to-toe in luminous lime green.
The Almost Famous star matched a neon jumper and maxi skirt with bright green pointed stilettos and bag.
She was on her way to appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show in New York to talk about her eco-friendly protein brand.
Well, if you’re promoting going green, this is how it’s done.
Bethell lands in hot water over Hancock’s lake swim
When disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock took a swim in the icy Serpentine in nothing but his undercrackers last week, he could not have foreseen the rippling after-effects his leap caused.
I can reveal his close friend Lord Bethell is embroiled in a row with the Royal Parks, which is in charge of the Hyde Park lake.
The former Health Secretary was captured enjoying an icy plunge into the depths of London’s Serpentine
The junior minister and hereditary peer has been publicly shamed for bringing Hancock, who is not a member of the Serpentine Swimming Club, for an unauthorised dip.
James Bethell faces a ban from the club, as members are not allowed to bring guests during the winter.
There has been uproar among the members, who include former spin doctor Alastair Campbell and broadcaster Emily Maitlis, over the rule-breaking.
The chairman wrote to members: ‘The committee is resolute that we will not, and cannot, tolerate members that behave in a manner that jeopardises the very existence of our club.’
Bethell blasted back: ‘A hostile ‘members only’ attitude just isn’t right in a public park at a time of huge public interest in the mental and physical benefits of open water swimming. A friendly, inclusive approach would be more fitting.’
The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards last year cleared Bethell of breaking any rules over sponsoring a Parliamentary pass for Hancock’s aide and lover Gina Coladangelo.
Encores for Cora, hints Fellowes …
Elizabeth McGovern the press night of ‘Ava: The Secret Conversations’ in London
Currently playing screen legend Ava Gardner on stage at the Riverside Studios in London, Elizabeth McGovern can look forward to returning as Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham, in Downton Abbey.
Its creator, Julian Fellowes, says the forthcoming film Downton Abbey: A New Era won’t be the last.
‘In this business, it’s very foolish not to give people what they want,’ he tells me at the first night of Ava.
‘I’ve said goodbye to these characters more times than I can number.
‘Each time I think, ‘This is the end, goodbye.’ Then I’m writing another series or movie.’
Larger than life fashion doyenne Meredith Etherington-Smith, who died in 2020 aged 73, was celebrated at a memorial service at Chelsea Old Church yesterday.
‘Meredith held a strong opinion that it is slightly naff to go abroad for summer holidays, so Tuscany, the South of France, Corfu etc were all off limits,’ former Conde Nast magazine boss Nicholas Coleridge said of the journalist in his eulogy.
The Victoria & Albert Museum chairman added: ‘Her reasoning? ‘Nobody nice is there then, darling.’
Nell and Max turn up heat on Burns Night
In the hit ITV drama Victoria, Nell Hudson’s character — the Queen’s dresser — chose to dedicate her life to the monarch by turning down a marriage proposal from a potential suitor.
In real life, the 31-yearold actress, is enjoying a new romance with actor Maximillian King.
Maximillian King and Nell Hudson attend the Burns Night celebrations at Park Row, London, on Tuesday
Nell Hudson plays the Queen’s dresser Skerrett (pictured) in the hit ITV drama Victoria
The pair made their public debut at a Burns Night party in Mayfair, with Maximillian dressed for the part in a kilt — and, er, boots.
Nell, whose mother is author Cressida Connolly (first wife of late writer AA Gill), previously went out with the model Jake Chatterton.
Celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen has one ambition still to fulfil: the Lord Of The Rings star, 82, wants to play the lead in a musical.
‘I can hold a tune, but I’m not a proper singer,’ he admits. ‘In the bath, in the shower, in private, I have sung occasionally.’
He adds: ‘I’m available but incompetent.’
He can’t be any worse than Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! — and that film still took £350million at the box office.
Soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who sang at Charles and Diana’s wedding, has some advice on how to behave if you meet the monarch. ‘She’s a very ordinary person,’ Dame Kiri declares. ‘The most important thing is not to look at someone and think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m meeting the Queen.’ She’s the same as anybody — she’s got two eyes, two legs and two arms.’
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