Tracey Emin wearing a blue jacket holds her arms up in a Y shape in front of a neon sign hanging up in a train station behind her. The handwritten text reads: 'I want my time with you'.

Tracey Emin demands artwork is removed from No 10 following Partygate – and the reactions are mixed

Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for HS1 St Pancras

If there’s one place you don’t want your artwork to be right now, then that’d be the building which is currently rocked by the news that it housed several illegal parties during a deadly global health crisis…

Cough, Downing Street, cough (actually, best not to cough so loudly right now).

Following the scandal known as Partygate, Tracey Emin – the Turner Prize-nominated perhaps best known for the provocative piece My Bedwrote on Instagram that she has requested No 10 remove her neon artwork titled More Passion.

Attaching a picture of the work, she said: “This is my neon that hangs at 10 Downing Street. It was a gift from myself to the Government Art collection.

“I am now in the process of requesting that my artwork be removed from 10 Downing Street.

“I feel More Passion is the last thing this present government needs. This current situation is shameful.”

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Thursday, Ms Emin added: “I don’t want the work back because I donated it. I would simply like at the moment for it to be taken down, because the neon is notoriously for a party atmosphere.

“You have them at funfairs, casinos, bars or whatever.”

And I don’t think we need to tell you why that’s a bad idea, given the current situation.

The artist, who previously declared her support for the Conservative Party, continued: “I want it taken down and this government, I will tell you what they need, they need compassion.

“That’s what they need, not passion. They don’t need more party atmosphere.

“Most of us are obeying the rules in every single way because this pandemic has affected everybody so terrible, whether it is financially, whether it was health-wise, people dying or whatever. And this Government doesn’t seem to care about that…”

People have since criticised the Tory backer for drawing the line at reports of illegal government parties, which is weird, because her whole job is to draw lines:

Ms Emin donated More Passion back when David Cameron was in charge (if you can remember such a time), with the Government Art Collection (GAC) displaying works across the globe in 365 locations – such as embassies and other high profile government buildings.

The PA news agency understands that while the artwork’s location will be discussed between GAC and Ms Emin, More Passion will remain part of the collection.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “My understanding is that the work was gifted to the Government Art Collection with an agreement to initially display it in No. 10.

“We will obviously now discuss the location of the work with the artist and I believe it will remain part of the Government Art Collection that displays works in a number of locations.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – which manages the collection – added: “When an artwork comes into the Government Art Collection, the collection can display the work at any of its 365 locations.

“On occasion the Collection may consult with an artist when a work is going to a specific location.”

We think it’s perfectly understandable that Ms Emin may want her artwork to be more arty than party at the moment…

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