The bed!!

Decades ago we were taught a hard lesson as we became young adults- we had to make our own bed and lie in it. Luckily for Tracy Ermin that hasn’t been a hardship. Her bed, which is a controversial piece of artwork, was sold at auction a couple of years ago for 2.2 million pounds. Tracy created the bed, a self-portrait of her life, consisting of an unmade bed surrounded by clothes on the floor, empty vodka bottles and more that’s best left to the imagination, after a traumatic separation with her partner. Reactions to the artwork have been very mixed. At the time of the sale Ermin said, ‘In Japan they were shocked by my dirty slippers and underwear.’

‘In America it was like, “Yeah, we’ve seen feminist art before, we’ve done it already”, no fuss, just treated it like a regular artwork.

‘Of course in the UK, it just exploded with the Turner Prize. It just went crazy. I still think it’s iconic.

‘It changed people’s perceptions of what art is and what art can be. That’s why it’s still really special to me.

My Bed, as Emin’s artwork is titled, is set to go on display at Tate Liverpool, bringing its vodka bottles, used tissues and fag butts to the north-west for the first time, and initiating a unique artistic ritual.Where is it likely to be exhibited next?

Read about Tracy re-creating her bed here.


  • your make your own bed, now lie in it- (expression)- you have to live with the consequences of your action
  • a hardship (noun) – something difficult
  • self-portrait- a representation of an artist that is drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by that artist.
  • fag butts- cigarette ends

What do you think of Tracy Emin’s artwork?

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