Thursday, June 7, 2012

But You Didn't, Did You?

For the Love of God (2007) by Damien Hirst

My tastes in art are very inclusive, liberal in regards to craftsmanship, and friendly towards conceptual experimentation. Yes, I love traditional representational artistry, but I am equally as enamored by intellectually engaging innovations. At the very least, I'm willing to keep an open mind towards the work, listen to the general critical assessment, and, with as much empathy as I can muster, consider the creative process that led to the creation of such a work.

But the works of Damien Hirst have never won me over. I find their concepts to be purest banality. Sure, I love a good vanitas, but Hirst's works are more about spectacle and sensation than contemplations on mortality, regardless of what he titles the pieces. Well, what's wrong with a bit of showmanship in the art? Nothing, but the flash ought to reinforce the work's premise. Instead, Hirst's stuff is shallow razzle dazzle, with a "concept" that feels tacked on to provide a fig leaf of aesthetic legitimacy.

In all honesty, it feels like total hucksterism, a big scam. I've racked my mind trying to see what so many insightful and erudite critics find of value, but have come up with nothing. In terms of originality, personal craftsmanship, composition, beauty and the sublime, Hirst's art is a failure, completely without authenticity or charm.

Detail of The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) by Damien Hirst

But, if it would earn me vast sums of wealth, I'd pickle a big fish and come up with profound sounding mumbo jumbo too. So, in amazed respect for Damien Hirst's financial artistry, let's wish him a Happy Birthday.

And here are a few vids:

Shark at the Met

For the Love of God (2007)

A brutally honest personal assessment of Hirst's work ;-)


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