Queen Elizabeth II ‘Became a Marina Abramovic for the Ages’
Art world reactions to the Queen's death have ranged from sentimental to silly.
Marina Abramović, Places of Power, The Garden of Maitreya (2013). Fine art pigment print. 160 x 213 cm. Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, who reigned for seven decades as Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, died in Balmoral on 8 September 2022.
Tracey Emin posted the message 'RIP HM Queen Elizabeth II' on Instagram along with a picture of the two taken in 2011 during the Queen's visit to the Turner Contemporary in Margate.
Tate posted an Andy Warhol portrait of the Queen along with the message, 'In this time of international mourning, we are remembering Her Majesty's love and support of the art world, and of Tate. She has been present at some of the most significant moments in Tate's history, from her first visit to Tate Britain for its extension in 1979, to the opening of Tate Modern in 2000.'
Artnet News noted that 'the Queen's image has been captured countless times by artists over the years, from Andy Warhol to Annie Leibovitz'. They shared portraits of the Queen by artists such as Elizabeth Peyton, Peter Blake, and Lucian Freud.
They left out one of the more prolific painters of the Queen, Australian Aboriginal painter Vincent Namatjira.
'Queen Elizabeth met my great-grandfather Albert Namatjira in 1954 and she awarded him the Queen's Coronation medal,' Vincent told Ocula Magazine. 'This connection between my family history and the British Royal family is the reason why I've made so many paintings of the Queen and the royal family.'
'When I heard the news today I was pretty shocked,' he continued. 'I've been reflecting on the fact that the Queen lived to 96, while my great-grandfather passed away when he was only 57. Personally I'd like to see Indigenous leaders and heroes past and present have the same level of recognition and respect that the royal family does.'
Asked whether he would keep painting Elizabeth II, Namatjira said, 'I might retire from painting the Queen, let her rest in peace the poor thing... but I'll definitely be busy painting King Charles!'
One of the more controversial portraits of the former monarch is undoubtedly Banksy's Monkey Queen (2003).
Pictures on Walls, which sold prints of Banksy's work prior to shutting down in 2017, promoted the print with the following text.
'Celebrate the fact the highest position in British society is not a reward for talent or hard work, but simply handed out with the accident of birth. God Save The Queen.'
Writing for The Art Newspaper, Louis Jebb was far more positive. He said the Queen 'perfected the fine art of monarchy' and became 'a past master in the art of monarchy'.
Stretching the metaphor of Queen as artist to corgi-esque proportions, Jebb published a second piece in The Art Newspaper describing her as 'one of the greatest performance artists of all time.'
'It was a feat made all the more remarkable by the consistency and longevity of its development, made possible by the Queen's powers of concentration, stamina and presence of mind,' he continued, before offering one of the silliest takes on the Internet.
'She became a Marina Abramovic for the ages,' he wrote. —[O]