British artist Tracey Emin posted on her Instagram this week that she has officially requested that her 2010 neon piece More Passion be taken down from 10 Downing Street, the official residence and office of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister.
“I am now in the process of requesting that my art work be removed from 10 Downing Street,” wrote Emin in her post. “I feel More Passion is the last thing this present government needs. This current situation is shameful.”
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The request follows the recent revelations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had attended a party held in the garden of 10 Downing Street during May 2020 while the country was in lockdown because of the pandemic. With more than 30 people present, many believe the gathering violated the U.K.’s lockdown measures. Facing enormous public backlash, Johnson has maintained that he believed it was a work event, not a party, but he subsequently apologized for his attendance. Still,
In an interview with the Art Newspaper, Emin said she found the hypocrisy of the situation baffling and inappropriate. “I think lying to people is shameful,” she said. “People have suffered so much through Covid. They’ve looked to the government for advice, and it turns out that the government has been telling us to do one thing and not doing it themselves.”
Emin donated More Passion to the Government Art Collection in 2010 when then Prime Minister David Cameron requested she make a work for the collection. She clarified, however, that while she wants the artwork removed from 10 Downing Street, she would like the work to remain in the collection and simply be hung somewhere else.
Emin has been a supporter of the Labour Party when she became famous as part of the YBAs in the ’90s, but switched her support to the conservative Tory party around 2011, publicly backing Tony Blair and David Cameron. In a 2019 Guardian interview, she said she regretted backing them and has publicly spoken out against Brexit. In her recent Art Newspaper interview, she doubled down on this and her dissatisfaction with the current government, saying, “Brexit has really fucked up a lot of the culture.”