Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst is a British artist who's famous for installation pieces featuring dead animals floating in formaldehyde that sell for exorbitant amounts of money. He also does "spin paintings," which are created by someone (not Hirst himself, but one of his employees) dripping paint onto a flat, revolving surface. His piece For the Love of God, pictured here, was fashioned from a real human skull to which he affixed 8,601 diamonds. Whenever I think of Damien Hirst, I'm reminded of the painter Rabo Karabekian from Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, who "with his meaningless pictures had entered into a conspiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid" (Vonnegut 214). Hirst doesn't even paint most of his own pictures, and I think the idea of the mastermind conceptual artist taking all the credit for merely signing his name on the work of others, especially as some sort of "ironic" critique of capitalism and mass production, was fraudulent and boring when Andy Warhol did it 40 years ago.

Damien Hirst's work is smug, nihilistic, and morally and aesthetically disgusting. He's not an artist, he's an artiste, and celebrity bullshitters like him are the reason why most people don't visit art galleries.

(Image from Originally posted at Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!)

1 comment:

Shauna said...

This average folk has been hesitant to visit my local art gallery not because of the artistes, but because of the staff. There's this "we went to art-school" club that I am not in, and no amount of art appreciation can make it worth hanging around the outside of such a club. There are a lot of turtlenecks and leggings involved. There is also a lot of drinking expensive wines not-to-get-drunk, but to talk about and be seen drinking expensive wines. There is gossip, and who was seen where, and I find it overwhelms and embarrasses me. So even though I work less than a block from a fantastic FREE art gallery (the Confed Centre), I am in no way interested in going there on a regular basis. Which sucks, I think. But so much arrogance surrounds art, not just the creation, but also the appreciation thereof. Boo to that, I say. Boo.