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View our photo gallery from the event. 

On Tuesday, October 25th, the New York Academy of Art hosted its 30th Take Home a Nude auction at Chelsea Industrial, this year honoring British mixed-media artist Tracey Emin. The annual benefit, which marked the artist’s first appearance in the United States in six years, raises funds for public programming and scholarships at the graduate art school in Tribeca. On display at the event was Emin’s lastest neon artwork created exclusively for the New York Academy, a large-scale neon sculpture that read, “Because I’m So Fucking Sexy, I Was Born Sexy, And I Will Die Sexy,” in yellow lettering spanning eight feet across, which sold in the live auction for over $100,000 USD.

The evening kicked off with a silent and live auction of more than 200 works by artists including Will Cotton, Ann Craven, Barry X. Ball, John Currin, Futura,  Walter Robinson, William Wegman, Sam McKinniss, and Untitled’s founder Indira Cesarine, among many others. Brooke Shields, Russell Tovey, Cynthia Basinet, Eileen Guggenheim, Nicole Miller, Zoe Buckman, Bob Colacello, Ralph Pucci, Mickalene Thomas, John Varvatos, and Yelena Yemchuk were also among the hundreds of guests hailing from the fashion, film, art, and business worlds. This year’s chairs included founding director of the Andy Warhol Foundation and filmmakers Vincent and Shelly Dunn Fremont, Her Clique founder Izabela Depczyk, and founders of the Hall Art Foundation Christine and Andrew Hall.

New York Academy of Art Presents Take Home a Nude Honoring Tracey Emin, Courtesy of BFA

The following night, the Academy hosted a live conversation between Emin and Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz. The artist discussed “feeling like one of those pop stars who couldn’t make it across the pond,” as the American art scene initially struggled to embrace the highly confessional nature of her work when she rose to worldwide fame in the 1990s. Emin formed her artistic identity around “radical vulnerability,” creating intensely autobiographical pieces that grappled with abortion, sexual abuse, and other universal female experiences that prominent art institutions had largely suppressed or invalidated in favor of the male perspective. “The world is just now catching up with me,” she said, adding that her emotions and commitment to vulnerability continue to be the driving inspiration behind her work. 

Brooke Shields and Tracey Emin, New York Academy of Art Presents Take Home a Nude Honoring Tracey Emin, Courtesy of BFA

Since becoming one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated artists, Tracey Emin’s practice has spanned performance, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and film. She is a Royal Academician, having received her MA from the Royal Academy of Art, and is one of the two first women to be appointed professor at the Academy in London since its founding in 1768. “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With” (1995) and “My Bed” (1998), two of her most groundbreaking works, contributed significantly to the global feminist conversation and cemented Emin as one of the UK’s leading artistic voices.

For more from Tracey Emin and the New York Academy of Art, follow them on socials: Tracey Emin | New York Academy of Art

Photography by BFA, and Mikhail Torich for The Untitled Magazine

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