The dirty, unmade bed with yellowing sheets by British artist Tracey Emin has sold for £2,546,500 or $4,351,969 USD (including buyer’s premium) at a Christie’s auction in London. I already had my fun with the Emin bed last month, so I’ll keep it short. My Bed, the iconic, controversial work from 1998 more than doubled the auction estimate by Christie’s, but I’m not surprised at all. I thought it could have made much more than it did.
If I was running a small regional art museum I would have begged, borrowed and stolen to purchase the bed, whether I hated it or not! People would come to see the bed, even if it’s just to complain about how shit it is. You could sell them a postcard of it while they whinge and whine. Writers will continue to write about the work and your little regional museum would be mentioned again and again. If money was really tight you could even charge people money to have their photograph taken while sitting on the bed
Charles Saatchi bought the controversial work in 2000 for £150,000, which isn’t a bad investment return. Here’s what I had to say about the used bed previously.