Tuesday, June 19, 2007

For the Love of Art

Damien Hirst. His now famous diamond-crusted skull on show at the White Cube gallery (with a £50 million price tag) is the talk of London. The work, by the way, is called "For the Love of God." Indeed. At another time, such a sum might seem excessive, the triumph of a fat wallet over good sense, but in the London art market right now, it seems there is no limit to what people will spend. Someone paid £27,000 for a drawing done by Hirst's two-year old son for goodness sake.

If sold, Mr. Hirst's skull will be the most expensive new work of art ever made. Now that's the stuff of headlines. I don't know about you, but I really love to hate him and hate to love him. Two sides in constant struggle. What follows is a record of one such battle:

-- This guy doesn't even make his own work. He hires a team of assistants to do everything for him and then he comes by and does a little touch up and signs them as his. What kind of artist doesn't even do their own work?

-How about an Architect? They don't build their own houses. What about Beethoven? He doesn't run around and play instruments hundreds of years after his death but we still call it his work. What about a movie director? He just sets the stage and direction and lets the pieces work. Isn't that what Hirst is doing?

--Yeah but a painting is supposed to be painted by the artist. How is it a "Hirst" if he didn't paint it? How is a sculpture of his really his? Did he catch the Shark? No. How can they call him an artist?

-Ok that's a low blow - no one is saying he makes the best art in the world and no one is forcing you to like it at all.

--Using shock tactics to sell art is commercial and wrong. Isn't greed a bad thing? A skull covered in diamonds? Isn't that level of ego to much for anyone to bear? Isn't it almost silly?

-For the love of art, yes.

Damien Hirst
White Cube Mason's Yard
Until 7th July
Tue-Sat 10am-6pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

DH is the biggest money grabbing waster to ever hit the YBA scene. Yes it is silly, hyperbolic and shamefully egotistical.

4:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Paris Hilton buys it! That would be his come uppance.

4:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hirst is such a tosser

5:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damien Hirst gets so buried under hype - his own and other people's - that it is sometimes difficult to remember that he is just an artist. To be sure, perhaps more than any member of that particular sub-culture, Hirst has succeeded in entering the popular mainstream, with all the benefits and disadvantages that seems to entail. But what of his actual art?

5:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not going to weigh in on the merits of sharks in tanks or urine-soaked crucifixes. I'm no Damien Hirst fan myself. Defining art is a loser's game. But as one who actively does art every day, and as one who associates with artists on a regular basis, I feel somewhat qualified to opine on what it feels like to do art. And it doesn't feel like faith. It feels like discovery. If doing art is a religious experience for some artists, I don't know them. All of the artists I know will tell you it's a hell of a lot more work-a-day than most non-artists realize. It may begin with inspiration, but the vast majority of our efforts are devoted to rather pedestrian tasks like rewriting, photoshopping, marketing, and the like. I can only see your insistence on equating atheism with meaninglessness as stubbornness. No matter how many non-believers tell you their lives are rich with meaning and wonder and all the lovely stuff you derive from faith, you simply refuse to accept it. Perhaps you know the contents of our minds better than we do. But I can assure if God is hiding out in my mind, he's buried very deep indeed. So deep, I never notice him

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

er, what does god have to do with it?

5:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very difficult to be an artist when there is huge public and media attention. Because Damien Hirst has been built up as a very important figure, there are plenty of sceptics ready to put the knife in.

8:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course he critics are going to say the diamond show is a circus. They won't see its emotional and intellectual effect. But this is the show that, for a generation, will be considered as having thrown down the gauntlet: this is what art is about. This is what it could be.'

8:54 am  
Blogger Sean said...

The skull is simply amazing to behold. You have to see it to believe it.

1:07 am  

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