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Tracey Emin. Photo: FearfulStills.
Tracey Emin. Photo: FearfulStills.

Tracey Emin to Found Art School in Disused Mortuary

Turner Prize–winning artist Tracey Emin is establishing an art school and museum in the port town of Margate on England’s southeast coast, where she grew up. The school, to be christened TKE Studios (the name incorporates her own initials), will occupy a former bathhouse and mortuary, the Times of London reports. Both structures are situated nearby her studio, in a sprawling former printing house she purchased with a friend five years ago.

The school will incorporate thirty newly built studios, which students may rent for a comparatively nominal amount. Pupils will be expected to show their work regularly and, as gleeflully re-reported by the Daily Mail, will not be permitted to smoke or listen to loud music. The mortuary is to serve as a kind of “mini museum,” housing works by Emin, who in September announced that her studio would eventually become a repository for a trove of about thirty thousand photographs and twenty-five hundred works on paper, open to the public. Emin also announced plans to launch a residency program elsewhere in Margate, which has struggled economically in past decades, though a hint at a possible reversal of fortune appeared in 2011 with the establishment of Turner Contemporary there.

Emin, who shot to fame in the 1990s as one of the YBAs, or Young British Artists, is perhaps best known for her Turner Prize–winning My Bed, 1998, an artwork comprising her own unmade kip, strewn with soiled underwear, empty liquor bottles, and condom wrappers. Following a cancer diagnosis and the subsequent lifesaving surgery that left her with a urostomy bag, as well documented in her art, Emin began working to preserve her legacy and to boost her hometown. Among the benefits the area is to enjoy thanks to the Tracey Emin Foundation are a sculpture park, lectures, and life-drawing classes, all available to the general public.