Dylan Jones: The Perfect Art Party could be defined by one thing and one thing only. Tracey Emin

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I was asked to define the quintessential art party recently, and so I started thinking about location. Was it New York, Miami, Los Angeles or London? But although I've been to art parties in all those fancy-pants places, and although there is such a temptation these days to assume that art, like everything else in the modern media Venn diagram, is a movable feast, I decided it really had to be London. Even though our economy is not exactly in rude health, London is still the city with the real money, still the city with a genuine sense of bohemia, and still the city with the most important artists, the most important galleries. Sure, we're being told it's all about Iran, all about Pakistan. But is it, really?

So was that what it was all about? Galleries? Was the perfect art storm always determined by the white space? Were we saying that someone like Larry Gagosian was the key? Or was a party determined by the curators, the buyers, or the PR team hired to fill the room? Was it the Russian vodka brand, or the Italian clothing company, or the Swiss watch company? Could an art party simply be kick-started by a magazine, or a website? Could all of this be conjured out of thin air, with a venue, a sponsor and a celebrity guest list?

But was I forgetting something here? Was I forgetting the principal ingredient, the core of the whole thing? Was I forgetting the content providers, the artists? Perhaps instead of worrying about all the peripherals I should have taken an A1 sheet of paper and charcoaled a list of the bold-type artists guaranteed to generate column inches and paparazzi fever ... perhaps I should have started scribbling the likes of J&D Chapman, Schnabel, Prince and Koons and then found an A1 fax machine and simply pressed SEND.

But even that wasn't good enough. No, I thought, as I sucked the end of my HB2, the Perfect Art Party could be defined by one thing and by one thing only. Tracey Emin. Or, as the tabloids always call her, "that" Tracey Emin. Because when I thought about it, you can't really have an art party without Tracey. Not a good one, anyway.

So if you're throwing a party, and Tracey's not there, neither are you.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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