Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Settle down with a Coke or Champagne, and popcorn or munch on. That's Damien Hirst, the artist, lying on the floor beneath one of his "SPOTS" art works.

The success of Damien Hirst astounds me. It worries me. I suspect that my reaction to his success may end up embarrassing me -- I can't help wondering if this guy's art is phony baloney. Yes, I can dig up well known authorities in the art world who agree with me, but many, many more experts bow down to this 47-year-old-artist and deem him significant, important, an innovative MAJOR ARTIST.

Instead of quoting critics, or telling you the story of how and why the young beginner artist has become one of the most successful and highly praised artists in the world, read -- look -- see for yourself.

One of Hirst's first successful works was -- not a painting --
it was a foal with a gold horn in his forehead, preserved in a tank of formaldehyde -- a Unicorn called "THE DREAM."

Pre-"Unicorn," he created a few other art works that were tanks with other animals. I have difficultly perceiving pickled animals in tanks as art, but the concept is certainly innovative.

Then, Damien Hirst knocked out the art world with 'FOR THE LOVE OF GOD," a human skull, anointed with small and large diamonds. It's been sold for $100 million dollars. Having invested his own money in the diamonds, Hirst co-owns the skull, with the group that bought it. In the film clip below, you'll hear what Damien Hirst says about his art dealing with death.

You're seeing some of the art created by an artist who's incredibly successful financially, and very HOT right now. Here's what Time magazine's Belinda Luscombe and Hirst discussed that certainly establishes his fame. For me, their British accents get in the way of clarity, but clearly Belinda and Damien are sophisticated savants -- they jabber easily, almost banteringly, about money, life and death and art.

I have written about Damien Hirst before --- my post August of 2011, "Hot New Art " mentions his shark in a tank. Back then, I was shocked -- I am still shocked by Damien Hirst's success with "THE PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF DEATH IN THE MIND OF SOMEONE LIVING."

Click and see this $8 million dollar GREAT WORK OF ART being assembled.

You can see if you visit NYC -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan is thrilled by the its acquisition of it.

Okay -- here's Damien Hirst's latest huge success. Hirst has 331 of his dot canvases, (out of about 1,400 he made), being exhibited, simultaneously, by eleven Larry Gagosian galleries in eight cities around the world. . Is this a retrospective, a philosophical depiction of his vision, his feeling, his statement about the world, about "Everything being a part of a whole that stretches forever, in every direction and dimension?" (I'm quoting Millicent Wilner, Gagosian Gallery Director, who's worked closely with Hirst, who says that is what is)

4-Chlorephenol, 2008

It is certainly impressive -- all these paintings of dots, spots, blue for blue, and red for love, and green for jealousy, and white, pink, all the different shades of spots, spots, spots, before our eyes.

Easy to look at, but why should we bother?


Ameer S. Washington said...

It's interesting. The skull is definitely worth what it was bought for since the diamonds themselves total $12-16 million depending on how you interpret his explanation.

But with regard to your heading being a question I'll offer you and all who read this comment what a friend offered me. Everybody's not supposed to like it, because it's art. Art for everyone is different. What is art, or better, what is quality art is dependent upon the whims of the eyes looking at it. Sure anyone could put some dots on a page, but does that fact make it less artistic or less important than say Van Gogh or Monet. Who's opinion matters rather than the artist.

Our society (human) looks at anyone who becomes ultra successful as an artist and often tries to find any way to demonize them. I saw many of the negative headlines, telling Hirst to quit. But that very polarity of positive and negative is what truly drives an artist. Hirst doesn't come from money, as he said, so he worries about it. That's an interesting comment for a man worth $300 million pounds or dollars. What's my opinion? His art is cool, some of it is shit, and some of it was stunning. Even I hate some of my own creations as we all do.

Great post.

Peggy Bechko said...

I'm sorry, I have a hard time with this. I won't criticize anyone for liking it, but it's definitely not my thing and I think it is truly a shame so many other wonderful artists are 'starving' while this sort of art gets such notoriety. I didn't use to like the jet engine paintings that were so popular in the late 60's either.

Carola said...

The test is not what we think but what people 50 or 100 years from now think.

Anonymous said...

Very informative and interesting blog today Em! I like some of this artist's work, makes me think about things. Not too keen on all the colored dots though. I like this artist better than others you have had on your blog. I enjoyed watching the videos also. kam

Linda Phillips said...

We should NOT bother. That is my opinion anyway. I am knowledgeable about art. I have studied it and I used to buy it for clients...major banks and corporation, when I was still a practicing commercial interior designer in NYC. I own art. I love art. That is attention getting design. It is not art.

The other things he has done are just too gruesome to even look into.

Kaye Francis said...

I be trippin' all right Ms. Em. I know little to nothing about 'art'!
* * *
I have 'mixed-up' feelings about the little foal turned post-mortem unicorn & the shark. I'm not sure I want to or am ready to or if it is even of enough importance or interest on my part to work on the 'sorting out' of my 'mixed-up' feelings. (Napping today ranks much higher on my priority list.)
* * *
As far as the dots....personally for me I see them as 'art decor'....I think they would be well put to use in either an entire home or at least a guest bedroom, when you absolutely know you don't want guests to stay for too long.
* * *
As far as the dots....the very next time anyone besides myself implies that Ima 'dotty'...Ima tell them, 'you don't know the half of it' ~ absolutely nothing wrong with 'dotty' ~ see Damien Hirst, he makes a great living at being 'dotty'.
* * *
Much love to you Ms. EM I'm @grammakaye on twitter.

Maureen Jacobs said...

Fantastic subject. Artists like Mr. Hirst is why many strive for perfection. Thank you for sharing.