Tracey Emin was the star attraction as the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Women in the Arts lunches on Monday.
Some 180 women (and two men) visited Emin's exhibition at the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury before being taken by coach to Shoreditch House, a private members' club in east London, where lunch was served in the rooftop restaurant. There, Emin discussed her life and career with her friend, broadcaster Tim Marlow.
She recalled her difficulties getting into art school after leaving school at 13 with no qualifications. She also spoke of her regret that she would never have children and her worries about being alone in old age.
There was advice to young artists and, to great applause, a call on whoever is in power after the election to give greater funding to the arts.
Emin told the JC that although her work is not, to her knowledge, represented in Israeli galleries, she features in several private Israeli collections.
"There are also lots of young artists in Israel who love my work and I have selected two, Daniel Silver and Sigalit Landau, for recent shows I have curated." Emin chose Landau's video Barbed Hula for the room she curated at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 2008.
Asked why she was backing BFAMI, she replied: "When invited to a good party, I usually go."
The lunch series was the brainchild of BFAMI honorary president Janice Atkin, who wanted supporters to hear and honour some of the "many outstanding women artists around". The first guest of honour was Turner Prize winning sculptor Rachel Whiteread and other past guests have included Sam Taylor Wood and Grayson Perry, who attended in 2004 dressed as his alter ego Claire.
Ms Atkin said that Emin was the perfect choice for the 10th anniversary. "She came to the BFAMI dinner at the end of last year and showed her support for the museums."
The artist donated a monoprint for the raffle and the event raised £16,000.