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'For five weeks, the sun will never set on a Hirst spot.'
January 14, 2012 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Hundreds of 'spot' paintings by Damien Hirst are currently on display in 8 cities on three continents.
posted by xowie (96 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought you were going to include this: Henssey Youngman.

I'm not actually a Hirst hater, but his 'art' definitely leaves me cold.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:31 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


You might enjoy this article from Artfagcity:
There is, we recognize, a historical danger here. [...] So I’m going to lay this down, just to clarify, so that nobody from the future gets confused: we hate this shit. Everyone hates this shit. These spots reflect nothing about how we live, see, or think, they’re just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop.
posted by Magnakai at 8:32 AM on January 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


As someone who has had their breath taken away from 'my kid could paint that' abstracts in galleries, I'd simply encourage people to reserve judgement in advance of seeing something like these in person.

Is he fucking with us? Almost certainly. Is the work meaningless? That's less certain.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:36 AM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't decide which spot painting is my favourite.
posted by Flashman at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


See Spot. See Spot cash in.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:46 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain why so much hate? Because there are so many? Because they're made by assistants? Because he's making money off of them? How is this any more "meaningless" or "fucking with us" than any other modern art? I once saw a fur-covered piano in the Pompidou. What was that supposed to mean?

Personally I think they're really pretty. A bit like something I'd see in World Market and then try to DIY it to hang over my couch, but really, what's the source of the anger? Pardon my ignorance .
posted by jschu at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The eyes spots seem to follow you all round the room world.
posted by verstegan at 8:56 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Go out into the street. Find a guy. Ask him to shout a word. Any word. His choice. Tape it. Put it on youtube. Is it art? What if you do fifty of them. What if you do a thousand? What if you project them at Mann's Chinese? Is it art? Are the people who would pay $50 for a 20 minute screening of this at Mann's Chinese chumps?

I don't know. But what I do know is that nothing says contemporary art than obsessive-compulsive banal re-contextualization and re-interpretation of extant banality especially when writ as large as the sky.

DAMMIT now I want to do this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:58 AM on January 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


They're always on flat canvases? Lame. He should do one on the outside of a cylinder. Or the inside of a large cylindrical room.
posted by LoudMusic at 9:00 AM on January 14, 2012


Can someone explain why so much hate? Because there are so many? Because they're made by assistants? Because he's making money off of them? How is this any more "meaningless" or "fucking with us" than any other modern art? I once saw a fur-covered piano in the Pompidou. What was that supposed to mean?

That's why I urged people to reserve judgement until they actually see it.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:03 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I once saw an interview where Hirst admitted nearly all the spot paintings were made by paid assistants, that he hated doing them, and he actually named the assistant whose work he thought was the best.

I don't think he actually put the shark in the lucite block himself either.

While I generally understand that art is the search for Ramachandran-esque "super responses" and that different people having self-programmed differently will trigger on different things, I really think Hirst has elevated fine art to the level of a common scam.
posted by localroger at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


A FFP about anyone but Leonardo da Vinci reaps snark on Metafilter, so I usually don't need to pile on, but it's a pleasure here. I've been transformed by a Rauschenberg exhibit in Chicago, knocked on my ass by a Van Gogh exhibit in St. Louis, wowed by a trip through the Uffizi in Florence, and charmed or amazed by dozens of shows by local artists in my home town of Denver. But I wouldn't walk across the street to see a Damien Hirst show. (OK, the cross-sectioned cow was cool, but the Hirst exhibit I last saw last year took two minutes out of my life that could have been spent more profitably sitting on a park bench.)

Oh, and the best show I've seen in a long time: the Surrealist Exhibition in Vancouver, The Colour of My Dreams.
posted by kozad at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do we have to try to deny that this is art in order to say that it's boring and we hate it? It's certainly art; it's also not very interesting to me; I have no issue holding both of those ideas in my head at the same time.
posted by penduluum at 9:22 AM on January 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Am I nuts for thinking I've already seen some of his spot paintings? In NYC? Some of them have already been displayed? Or did I imagine that?

Also, this line from the LA Times article is a gem:

The paintings are soulless, others will cry -- as if paintings can't credibly represent a social pervasiveness of deadened spirit.

That's right, folks - to call these paintings soulless is not only to cry, but also to imply that paintings in general cannot credibly represent a social pervasiveness of deadened spirit. The other implication is that these spot paintings do, in fact, "credibly represent" as much, presumably in an interesting way. This is what passes for thought these days.

On the other hand, I've very much respected other things Damien Hirst has done.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:26 AM on January 14, 2012


Who's denying that this is art? All people are saying here is that it's bad art and we wish Damien Hirst would go away.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:27 AM on January 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can someone explain why so much hate?

The spot paintings are particularly galling because they are not, in any meaningful sense, "by" Damien Hirst. Except for the vague idea of dripping paint on the canvas they are entirely conceived and created by people who never see the vast sums of money rich idiots shovel into Hirst's bank account.

It's not as if Hirst fobbed off something your kid could draw as fine art. It's more like Hirst paid your kid five bucks to draw it, then signed it and sold it as his own work. And then bragged about how artistic it is to re-contextualize kids' drawings as fine art.

You might not get Jackson Pollock's work but at least Pollock dripped his own paint, observed the patterns with his own eyes, and guided the creation of the things he signed.

Hirst is selling the idea of a painting, executed without any but the vaguest direction from himself. The physical object is just a token representing your membership in the Damien Hirst Owner's Circle. Like having a lock of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair; he put no effort into it and except for its provenance, it's absolutely worthless. It's not even like an autographed book because there's no book there, or if there is Hirst didn't write it.

In other fields we do not consider unexecuted ideas to have value; you can't copyright an idea and you can only patent one if you can describe exactly how to express it, generally by example.

But Damien Hirst says "hey, you know it would be cool to put a shark in a lucite block." And Hirst hires the rest of it out. He doesn't catch the shark, doesn't mix the lucite, doesn't figure out how to get the shark positioned; that's all done by professionals who have worked to develop skills. Then Hirst signs it and hangs it in a museum. OK, maybe it is art; but it's not art by Damien Hirst and the wrong person is cashing in.
posted by localroger at 9:28 AM on January 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah, Sticherbeast, that ham-fisted line from the LA Times jumped out at me, too. And, no, you're not crazy, I've seen his spot paintings recently, as well.
posted by kozad at 9:29 AM on January 14, 2012


The fact that he's one of the biggest targets right now probably helps the hate fest a little too.

I think they look pretty, but is it great art? Not to me.
posted by freakazoid at 9:31 AM on January 14, 2012


The spot paintings are particularly galling because they are not, in any meaningful sense, "by" Damien Hirst.

That's what gets me too.
posted by ob at 9:31 AM on January 14, 2012


Who's denying that this is art?

Well, From Bklyn's scare quotes qualify as at least addressing the issue obliquely. seanmpuckett's questions seem to be doing the same thing.
posted by penduluum at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2012


I always find it interesting, that past a certain point, every line of thought used to praise Damien Hirst's paintings could be equally well applied to Kim Kardashian's performance art and its breathtaking recontextualization of marriage. But so few people see the equivalence.
posted by tyllwin at 9:43 AM on January 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


A FFP about anyone but Leonardo da Vinci reaps snark on Metafilter

Almost all of the ideas for inventions DaVinci laid out were laughably unworkable. MetaFilter is now complete.
posted by cmoj at 9:43 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My life is now complete.
posted by Decani at 9:43 AM on January 14, 2012


I don't think he actually put the shark in the lucite block himself

He jumped it by himself, though.
posted by Decani at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


localrodger has got it. Displaying these everywhere around the world in galleries that define the market of Art for the Wealthy doubles down on the absurdity.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:48 AM on January 14, 2012


I'm fairly sure Hirst's real art is at the market level. The canvases are the paint, and the picture is the swirl of reaction and demand.
posted by dickasso at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my case it's not dislike of conceptual art, it's distaste for the stupid rich.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:02 AM on January 14, 2012


localroger: " but it's not art by Damien Hirst and the wrong person is cashing in."

Huh. Kinda like how the CEOs cash in and the workers who actually run the lathes or fry the burgers barely eke out a living.
posted by notsnot at 10:10 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting to compare this with the dot related work of Yayoi Kusama (eg).

Not that I've actually been to an exhibition of either, but just going by photos found online, I haven't yet found anything by Kusama that wasn't interesting, vibrant, inspiring, and made me want to actually see it one day. The opposite is true of these Hirsts.

If he's managed to create that many dot paintings without making a single one of them interesting in any way, that's actually quite an achievement. I wonder if it's deliberate.
posted by motty at 10:13 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is this any more "meaningless" or "fucking with us" than any other modern art?

How proficient they are at art speak?
posted by squeak at 10:20 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Branding has been around for centuries -- at least since identifying marks were first burned into animal flesh" I find this humorous
posted by Jibuzaemon at 10:25 AM on January 14, 2012


Just made this.
How much do you think I can get for it?
posted by demiurge at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hirst promised to stop doing the spot paintings after he sold a huge chunk of work at the apex of the bubble a few years ago. Gagosian has spent the last decade vacuuming up the kind of artists you would see in the last 20 pages of your Aarnson, and what-ever Taschen published a monograph on in the last few years. The market is moving east, and so the money going to the people that the Gagosian likes (though they have an outlet in Shang-hai, I don't think they rep any major Chinese artsits) is going to be less and less. Hirst redoing spot paintings, a crassly commerical gesture as a way to get rich, is kind of like wearing a dress and passing as a woman because the titanic is sinking and it's women/children first. I like much of Hirst's work, I don't care at all about who actually makes work, and his finical sense is gobsmacking,. (I don't like the Spot paintings, and you can tell a shitty art fair when there are more than a couple there)
posted by PinkMoose at 10:46 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just made this.
How much do you think I can get for it?


$0.00

That's just an estimate of course. Check with your dealer.
posted by erebora at 10:55 AM on January 14, 2012


Sol Lewitt has been giving instructions for paintings rather than actually painting them for years. People have always used assistants, I think the real question is whether or not the instructions lead to interesting results (haven't seen these paintings in person so I couldn't say).
posted by mike_bling at 11:01 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who's denying that this is art? All people are saying here is that it's bad art and we wish Damien Hirst would go away.

I liked the shark. Being in the same room as it is fucking breathtaking.

The best art, in my book, is the stuff that still works even if you don't know or care how it got there. So like Rodin's statue of Balzac — I'd find that stunning whether or not I knew who made it, or what he made it out of, or what century he made it in. Even if you convinced me that it wasn't originally intended as art at all, but as some sort of religious object or whatever, I'd still be able to sit and stare at it all blissed-out for a long-ass time. And for me the shark's the same way — even without knowing any details about the creator or the concept behind it, I can still have a pretty powerful experience just by staring at it thinking, "Somebody made this. For some damn unfathomable reason. Fuck."

Same deal with the skull, though I haven't seen the real thing. But even a picture of it still has a bit of power for me, in a way that's unconnected to anything I know about Hirst himself or his career or whatever. So that, to me, means it's working.

With the dots.... I dunno. Maybe I should reserve judgment on the dots, since I haven't seen them in person. (I didn't appreciate the shark until I was in the same room as it.) But I can't imagine having any sort of visceral aesthetic response to them, or even really finding them that interesting, if I didn't already know that they were Hirst's work. Haven't heard anyone else describing any sort of gut response to them either, just "Oh, hey, Damien Hirst made this. Huh." They're still pretty, but they don't seem to have the same grab-you-by-the-hair-and-swing-you-around effect that some of his other stuff had.

So, yeah, it is art. And it's also apparently bad art, in the sense that it doesn't really do it for much of anyone. And but so I don't even wish Damien Hirst would go away exactly. I just wish he'd go back to making shit that someone could get excited about.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you don't like the colors, you can reload. I bet one of the combinations will get me $3 mil.
posted by demiurge at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


But Damien Hirst says "hey, you know it would be cool to put a shark in a lucite block." And Hirst hires the rest of it out. He doesn't catch the shark, doesn't mix the lucite, doesn't figure out how to get the shark positioned; that's all done by professionals who have worked to develop skills. Then Hirst signs it and hangs it in a museum. OK, maybe it is art; but it's not art by Damien Hirst and the wrong person is cashing in.

I don't know. It sounds like the right person is cashing in. Damien Hirst executed the idea of reducing his idea of major league contemporary art to its bare bones - a conceit, an event, and means to accept payment. It's heretical over-conformity to what's already going on.

I guess I'm defending Hirst in a manner of speaking, but really, everyone else around him is acting out the profitable satire that he's creating.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think Steve Jobs put any iPhones together by himself.

I only have a problem with it when huge sums of public cash are thrown into the equation.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:18 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Golden ticket economics, part 2: Damien Hirst
Hennesy Youngman on Damien Hirst
Art is not an investment, part 872

also btw...
Art market datapoints of the day, China edition

more on art (economics, food & wine) by felix salmon :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2012


This writer blogger sounds like a college sophomore. It's hard to take his argument, if he is making one, seriously.
posted by scose at 11:28 AM on January 14, 2012


Damien Hirst identifies himself as a conceptual artist. That means the public reaction isn't really the art he's creating, any more than the paint is; the art is in the pitch. Like how One and Three Chairs is really the notion of putting three abstractions of a chair together, and the actual installation can be made from whatever chair the gallery had lying around.

The pitch in this case is: Here's a bunch of paintings of dots that Damien Hirst didn't make. They're in the world's top art galleries, where somebody will pay a lot of money for them.

So that there is Hirst's new piece. I wouldn't bother going to see it in person; Murakami does better by painting the whole room in dots. What's Hirst trying to say by putting a bunch of dots in top galleries?

My takeaway is, "Fuck galleries, man."

I can't disagree, Damien, I just wonder why you're shouting so loud.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:31 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does it mean for art to be "by" someone?

If William Shakespeare writes a play, and then a bunch of total strangers act it out, and you sit in the audience and watch it, are you watching a play "by" William Shakespeare? Or are you watching a bunch of total strangers carry out a set of Shakespeare's instructions from a distance, without his direct input, for money?

Is it only art if you paint your own canvas yourself by hand? Is it only art if you make your own brushes and paint your own canvas yourself by hand? Is it only art if you raise your own sable martens, and use their hairs to make your own brushes to paint your own canvas yourself by hand?

If Roger Ebert uses a computer to do his talking for him, is it still "speech"?

If I use a computer to write a poem, is it still a poem, even though I didn't write it by hand? What if I hire a team of people to write a poem for me, to my exact specifications?

What if I am Steve Jobs and I hire a team of people to create an iPhone, am I still the one who created the iPhone?
posted by ErikaB at 11:33 AM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


The same thing it means for a movie to be "by" its director. Anywhere from "I'm Stanley Kubrick" to "we had to credit SOMEBODY."
posted by LogicalDash at 11:39 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if I hire a team of people to write a poem for me, to my exact specifications?

Perhaps a better example would be Automatic Writing as practised by the Surrealists. You know, get everyone to write one word of the poem, knowing only the last one. Like that.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:49 AM on January 14, 2012


The dots are certainly "by" Damien Hirst. He didn't physically make them, but he planned the idea and he executed it. Delegation is a perfectly legitimate part of a plan's execution. What's more, no one would have cared about dots made by any of his barely-nonymous employees. What people find interesting about these dots is that they are "by" Damien Hirst.

It's like Xavier Roberts and Cabbage Patch Dolls.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:54 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's Hirst trying to say by putting a bunch of dots in top galleries?

I'd worry more about what the galleries are trying to say: "Damien Hirst's dots will give us valuable attention and make us valuable money."
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:58 AM on January 14, 2012


The dots are certainly "by" Damien Hirst. He didn't physically make them, but he planned the idea and he executed it.

Aren't a lot of the great Renaissance large-scale masterworks also "by" the artist, but executed by those working under him? I seem to remember reading stuff about, say, Michelangelo's Final Judgement and analysis being done to determine which of his protégés contributed to the painting of what parts. [maybe not that specific piece, but the concept stands]
posted by hippybear at 12:17 PM on January 14, 2012


"Hundreds of 'spot' paintings by Damien Hirst are currently on display"

.
posted by markkraft at 12:20 PM on January 14, 2012


What's Hirst trying to say by putting a bunch of dots in top galleries?

My takeaway is, "Fuck galleries, man."


I heard something on the radio about this whole thing and it focussed on the Global Spot Challenge aspect of the exhibition. Visit all 11 Gagosian galleries where they are hanging during the month they are displayed, and you get a free personalized Spot lithograph.

I think THAT is the real art which is being promoted here by Hirst. Gallery-visiting globe hopping. Sort of the opposite of "fuck galleries". More like, "travel extensively and visit galleries".
posted by hippybear at 12:22 PM on January 14, 2012


I need to stop reading about this, it's making me sick.
posted by hellojed at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2012


If being an artist entails having interesting ideas, but no technical skills that we usually associate with "art," then hell yes, I am an artist. Finally.

I wish he made his own formaldehyde. That would be cool.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:38 PM on January 14, 2012


There is, we recognize, a historical danger here. [...] So I’m going to lay this down, just to clarify, so that nobody from the future gets confused: we hate this shit. Everyone hates this shit. These spots reflect nothing about how we live, see, or think, they’re just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop.

Point: Missed!

Damien Hirst's art is an astute commentary about art collectors. That is, that their tastes are so often dictated by price point more than anything else. Art is bought as an investment or as a status symbol or because That's What Rich People Do.

they’re just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop

That's High Art in a nutshell. This is precisely the point.

Fran Lebowitz explains it better.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have good news for you. Being an artist requires no specific technical skills.
posted by penduluum at 12:40 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aren't a lot of the great Renaissance large-scale masterworks also "by" the artist, but executed by those working under him? I seem to remember reading stuff about, say, Michelangelo's Final Judgement and analysis being done to determine which of his protégés contributed to the painting of what parts. [maybe not that specific piece, but the concept stands]

@hippybear: I think Michaelangelo was more known for firing his assistants, locking the door and doing the whole damn thing all his curmudgeon self. Other artists? Assistants were used quite a bit. The Italian system of apprenticeship and all.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


alex_skazat: please talk with me, not at me.

As I said, maybe not that specific piece. I'm hardly an authority on Renaissance art. But I remember that it was the practice.
posted by hippybear at 1:28 PM on January 14, 2012


Not to derail this, but tell me the difference? Metafilter doesn't have a straightforward quoting system to reply to someone, so I'm just using what I see others doing.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:34 PM on January 14, 2012


It's been discussed before, but you already quoted the pertinent bit from what I wrote, why would you think you need to include @username for anyone to know what you're responding to? We prefer to discuss ideas, not have private conversations. I promise you, nobody who read your post would have lacked any information in the conversation if you had simply included your response without the @username.

Anyway, that's enough of that topic. You can look at MetaTalk for lengthy discussions about this topic if you need further clarification.

posted by hippybear at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2012


In America, Corporation is Person. In United Kingdom, Person is Corporation.
posted by y2karl at 1:43 PM on January 14, 2012


There's nothing necessarily wrong with Damien Hirst's work, per se.

The reason people detest him is because of how the art market works today. A tiny number of paintings command a huge price; almost all other works, works that might be very similar or even functionally identical, are basically worthless; and the way this is decided is not "on merit" (yes, I know the very meaning of that is debatable) but through a tiny number of critics and gallerists, all of whom are in a tiny, deeply incestuous circle.

Hirst's talent is not painting or art, but his ability to manipulate this tiny world of gallerists and critics to become astonishingly rich, and that is why he is resented. The fact that he has a pervasive reputation as an arrogant prick just adds fuel to the fire.

The same is not true in, say, music. I might not like Lady Gaga's music; the fact is that her work gives pleasure to millions of people, and I'm pretty sure that even if I got mass exposure, a lot fewer people would like my music. (The reason that people resent a Justin Bieber is because of a similar perception, but even then I'd disagree - he's providing the advertised service of being a very cute young guy who's a competent-enough performer. Trust me, the young girls aren't going to melt over Tom Swirly's avant-garde stylings (er, that's my other self...))
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:52 PM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain why so much hate?

Yes.

Sigmar Polke, "Untitled (dots)," watercolor on paper, 1963
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:58 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the criticisms you can make of Damien Hirst, the knee-jerk "but- but- but he didn't actually paint it!" has to got to be the least interesting.
posted by bradbane at 2:03 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Hirst's "stained-glass butterflies". They just speak to me; I can't articulate it much further than that. (example one, example two)
posted by flex at 2:57 PM on January 14, 2012


> but- but- but he didn't actually paint it!" has to got to be the least interesting.

Not quite right - it's that people claim that he doesn't really know how to paint - rather a different matter.

Michelangelo didn't paint much if any of the Sistine Chapel by his own hand, Gershwin got Ferde Grofé to do his orchestration, but both Gershwin and Michelangelo were personally technically brilliant.

I don't know if Hirst can paint or not. I think it's a reasonably fair criticism, and bring up a lot of fascinating points, but my main issue is expressed above.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:02 PM on January 14, 2012


Oh, and one more comment.

I should have been more careful about attributing bad personal characteristics to Hirst - I really have no idea, I've only heard third-hand crap, and talk is cheap. I wasn't claiming that this was true, only that these rumors add to the frenzy.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2012


How good do you think Frank Lloyd Wright was at pouring concrete or hanging drywall?
posted by cmoj at 3:40 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always like Damien Hirst for inspiring me to do this.
posted by andoatnp at 4:00 PM on January 14, 2012


Michelangelo didn't paint much if any of the Sistine Chapel by his own hand..

What?!? He painted every square inch of it by himself. That is the most utterly ridiculous statement I have heard in ages. I have not seen such balderdash since I saw a PETA demonstrator holding a sign stating "Leonardo da Vinci was an anti-vivisectionist."

Yes, Michelangelo had a team of assistants. They prepared the paints, plastered the walls, and transferred the cartoons to the prepared ground. It would have taken a team of assistants just to prepare enough surface for him to paint, and to prepare the paints. But Michelangelo did the painting.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:50 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't stand DH but I have to say The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living is in formaldehyde, not lucite.
posted by headless at 4:50 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's a huge tank of formaldehyde? That's pretty dangerous.
posted by demiurge at 4:58 PM on January 14, 2012


Nobody ever said art isn't dangerous.
posted by hippybear at 5:17 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damien Hirst on Charlie Rose
posted by muchalucha at 5:58 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think THAT is the real art which is being promoted here by Hirst. Gallery-visiting globe hopping.

Paying enormous sums to travel around the world and see exactly the same art you have at home?

Well, maybe he's promoting international impulse travel in general. Or, maybe "Collect them all!" is in fact the same exact loyalty marketing trick that Pokémon uses, so Hirst does the same to get more attention.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:10 PM on January 14, 2012


How good do you think Frank Lloyd Wright was at pouring concrete or hanging drywall?

As I've complained previously FLW designed buildings that were leaky and unlivably devoid of closets. Having a hand in your craft isn't necessary but it improves your results. FLW at least actually walked around in the leaky closetless buildings he designed. Hirst hasn't even seen most of the paintings he is fobbing off as "his."
posted by localroger at 6:16 PM on January 14, 2012


Hirst hasn't even seen most of the paintings he is fobbing off as "his."

Alright. I'll just walk over to these new goalposts then. Does a Chef taste every dish that comes off of his line?
posted by cmoj at 6:53 PM on January 14, 2012


A chef at least cares how it will taste. I'm from New Orleans. You really don't want to go there.
posted by localroger at 7:11 PM on January 14, 2012


We also have food where I come from. If Hirst didn't care how they came out, then they wouldn't have come out in a standard way.
posted by cmoj at 7:14 PM on January 14, 2012


Hirst has declared publicly that he doesn't care how it comes out At least Nuvolari's Italian restaurant in the heart of old Mandeville does actually care how the food tastes. They're not a great restaurant because of a web thing. They actually make great food, What the fuck does Hirst do?
posted by localroger at 7:23 PM on January 14, 2012


He makes people on the internet keep having to make up new reasons why he's bad when it's pointed out their last objection applies equally to others generally considered great.

You should know better (or apparently not) than to listen to what an artist says about their work. If he didn't care in a general sense how they turned out, then they wouldn't all be perfectly gridded spots. Even if he literally didn't care and had no idea what was going to come out of his studio that still wouldn't be a reason in and of itself.
posted by cmoj at 7:32 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody ever said art isn't dangerous.

Damien Hirst is, truly, the Darkwing Duck of art.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:40 PM on January 14, 2012


I saw the shark (actually the second version) when it was at the met.

The shark itself is 13 feet long, the box even bigger. It is massive and really quite impressive .

Anyway, there was a bit of an imbroglio over the fact that what was being passed off was not even the original work, but a reproduction by Hirst after the first shark started to decompose. The modern art curator said something in the above video that actually applies to these dot paintings "in conceptual art the physical execution is unimportant".Ai Weiwei didn't make all his sunflower seeds himself.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have it on good authority that Marcel Duchamp formed and kilned that urinal with his own fair hands and lied about the fact that he'd found it somewhere.

He wanted to get one off the shelf, but couldn't find one that met his aesthetic standards.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:45 AM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If someone puts it out as "art" it's art. We can argue about whether it is good art or not. That is one thing that's interesting about art. I think the dots are interesting art if you are interested in paintings that are completely derivative, technically unchallenging, esthetically barren scams on the 1% who patronize big-time huckster galleries.
posted by txmon at 9:33 AM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of these same words would have been used to describe Warhol's work during his lifetime.
posted by hippybear at 9:36 AM on January 15, 2012


I'm pretty sure that prompting giant arguments about what is and isn't art and who is and isn't an artist makes Damien Hirst one of the most successful artists of our time.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:54 AM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's sad is that there are dot paintings out there that are imbued with 60,000 years of culture, and which are simultaneously the oldest and most modern art being made today, but soulless douche canoes like Hirst, whose only subject is in fact the soullessness of the modern art market and indeed the visual, cultural and intellectual bankruptcy of the West, gets all the millions of dollars.

Kathleen Petyarre

Dorothy Napangardi

Turkey Tolson Tjupurulla

Not shit. Hirst is shit, by design.
posted by Fnarf at 3:21 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for those, Fnarf.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:06 PM on January 15, 2012


The paintings are simalucra, you simians. They are not to be viewed except in news articles.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:24 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hirst is selling the idea of a painting, executed without any but the vaguest direction from himself. The physical object is just a token representing your membership in the Damien Hirst Owner's Circle. Like having a lock of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair; he put no effort into it and except for its provenance, it's absolutely worthless. It's not even like an autographed book because there's no book there, or if there is Hirst didn't write it.

Still, he can sell it as art. And that is the art. Although I didn't think much of the skull (too tweakerish for my taste) this I can dig. Hirst is a genius on this one, illustrating very well a little-noticed but hugely important part of our world. Hirst just got himself a new fan!
posted by telstar at 9:22 PM on January 15, 2012


Thank you for the introduction to Henssey Youngman.
posted by Theta States at 5:00 AM on January 16, 2012


I love that he calls Louise Bourgeois a "true fallen soldier of hiphop".
posted by Theta States at 5:01 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of these same words would have been used to describe Warhol's work during his lifetime.

Warhol was very specific and deliberate about his focus on business for the final part of his career. While he had many detractors, at least he was more upfront about the financial banality of the works signed with his name.
And generally, the market's prices reflect the lesser enthusiasm for that period of work.
posted by Theta States at 6:31 AM on January 16, 2012


Warhol was very specific and deliberate about his focus on business for the final part of his career.

No. Actually, he focused on painting.

Reported to have been a serious but at the same time amusing collaboration [with Basquiat], which was staged in Warhol's studio and on his canvases, it is a historic event for having inspired him to put brush to canvas for the first time since 1962.

Could people please not axe-grind Warhol for every perceived problem with commercialization in the Art world?
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:41 AM on January 16, 2012


Those aren't mutually exclusive focuses.
posted by Theta States at 9:24 AM on January 16, 2012


The best review of the spot paintings I've read boils down to 'If you don't get it, take more drugs'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:00 PM on January 16, 2012


Hockney, Freud, Turner and Hirst: art blockbusters of 2012
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:36 PM on January 16, 2012


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