Friday, September 19, 2008

Beautiful Inside My Head Forever

Doesn't that title alone make you go "ick"? Doesn't it sound slightly pompous and self-involved? Well it's the title of the sale of work by Damien Hirst organized at Sotheby's this week. The event was split into an evening sale and a day sale featuring about 200 items overall and from what I can tell, all made within the last year. That's one busy artist. *furrows brow*

I mean, look at him up there. Kinda smug, non? Almost like he knows he's full of shit. I didn't really know what to expect having never seen his stuff first hand. We've all heard about his pickled sharks, the diamond crusted skull, the spin art etc. but finally seeing them in the flesh made it all very clear to me. Hirst is a businessman.

Although the butterfly works were breathtakingly complex and delicate, all I really saw was the effort behind it. Hirst has a studio of slaves. A factory full of artists at his disposal. I can't even fathom what it must have been like to be given a doodle, several thousand butterflies and some paint and told to put it all together with minute precision.

Hirst believes that Art is in the conception, not the execution- which I respect to a point. One of my biggest "Ah ha!" moments was understanding the concept behind Mondrian's work as it related to the war and bringing the world back to basics: primary colors and straight lines at 90 or 180 degrees. But Hirst seems to pluck his concepts out of already established ideas. Case and point: his Midas pieces. Seriously- how ground breaking is that? Diamonds and gold to symbolize the materialistic society we've become. Throw is some butterflies to tie it into the other works- it's more like designing for Target. One small and reasonably priced piece had been executed in about 8 different colors, giving the budding collector a chance to own a "real" Hirst in his favorite hue. Hirst might as well be printing his own money. I can just imagine him getting a call from Sotheby's saying that this piece would have been great as a pair flanking the doorway and Hirst saying he could just whip up another one. *ka-ching* that's another £60,000.

Love Bite: Autumn, 2008- £58,850 /Love Child: Winter, 2008- £73,250/ Love Bite: Spring, 2008- £73,250
What I'm really saying is that we often ask ourselves the question: "Is this really Art?" and we turn to the critics for assurance. I think Hirst managed to fool the critics early on and has stopped trying to produce anything worthwhile. It's either a re-hash of an old idea or something akin to the art at Habitat. I think Hirst knows that his work is bullshit and he's loving it.
Skimra lamp shade, Ikea- $6
The two day sale made over £110 million- of which Hirst is donating a whopping £1.4 million to a children's hospital. I honestly believe he's only doing this so people don't judge him and his millions. To sum it all up- Although I really like the below painting (which was surely painted by an intern) I can't think of anyone who makes me roll my eyes more than Damien Hirst.

1 comment:

  1. said all the things I could never articulate about this "artist" I could never get over his embalmed animals, what crap.Yea I always thought he was a case of The Emperors New Clothes. Can you even imagine anyone being offered the a choice of having any piece of Art and picking a pickled cow over lets say a Picasso.......come on now really. Thanks for this brillant insight.