Thursday, July 19, 2007

It Was Only A Matter of Time

As posted by "[This was] Placed outside of the White Cube Gallery Masons yard at 3.30 am on Sunday night in response to the Damien Hirst's "For The Love of God" diamond skull exhibition.

The "For the Love of God" prank was created using 6522 Swarovski crystals and took Laura, the artist, a month to create."

Now I'm just waiting for a line of jewelry to come out. Wait, it already has. Just hit up Target or Hot Topic for the very shiniest in glam-punk gear.

So, the prank has mos def started an inevitable riffing/commenting trend that will see death objects be-blinged, or perhaps Hirst-ified...if nothing else, this work is easier to ape than a floating shark.

But, that off-the-cuff comment raises larger issues (no, not of the commidification of art, that ship has certainly sailed) but of where one draws the line between a precious, singular object, and an object for replification.

I am certainly not the introducing an original idea here, but it does raise questions of the ramifications of comodifying the minutiae of life. In a larger sense, it taps into a universal desire to see, and be seen as intelligent, erudite, and witty (I am no exception).

In an age of instant gratification, where knockoffs of knockoffs abound and “group identification” is as simple as the right pair of limited-edition Nikes, I posit that we are nearing a time where there will be greater and greater stratification between high and low, between fine and craft. That might not be a bad thing per se, but the unintentional fall out will be a war of ideologies (according to Jacksonville artist, James Green this is already occurring). Which in blind striving for the winning argument will be reductivist to the point of redundancy. As the shades of theoretical grey fall by the wayside, absolutism will take hold, and then we'll be left with a bunch of brittle, flat, art...that serves no purpose save for to shriek it's own validity from gallery walls.

So, does this mean that the Hirst skull points to the downfall of civilization? No. It is merely that my observation that the furor created by this piece should be a jumping off point for discussion. Hopefully, not further stratification.

Either side you choose though, rest assured there will be a logo and a t-shirt not too far behind.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Unresolved Genius

It’s been a while since I posted, and I apologize…the last few weeks have been hectic: between traveling and writing for my paying gig, I haven’t had a minute to think.

However, I do feel that there are several things that need to be addressed and so this week, I’m going to take the time to go down the line.

Damien Hirst’s skull. More specifically, “For the Love of God,” as the work is entitled, is, as most of you know, the diamond-encrusted skull of an 18th century man. It is completely covered in diamonds, except for the teeth, which have been polished to a high, ivory sheen—heightening the contrast between the perfect facets of the diamonds and the, well, humanity of the piece.

“For the Love of God,” is beautiful in and of itself. The workmanship is flawless, and the more one looks at it, the more one is tempted to agree with Hirst’s comment that he wouldn’t mind something similar being done to his skull, post-mortem of course. But it does raise a lot of questions, not just about life and death, art and craft; but too of British colonialism, oppression, and insular cleverness. Of course, its also interesting to ponder the piece’s meaning if the stones were to be revealed as fakes…

The article linked below makes a good case for artists who are called geniuses during their own lifetimes—in addition to a pretty sharp review of the Hirst Skull--but then again, Picasso was (called a genius in his lifetime), and his “Demoiselles” is still largely considered to be the most influential painting of the 20th Century. Go figure.