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.


stephanie said...

i totally wonder if they are fake -- i think that would make more of a statement, trying to pass them as real, but they aren't. that's an interesting idea. is hurst british?

madeleine said...

Yes. I just tend to think that sometimes the Brits have a very insular view of themselves...I mean, the skull itself, real stones or not references so many other cultures...its sort of an endless riddle...but at the end of it all, I really think its briliant. I'm not sure if it's the kind of brilliant that, say, an art musuem needs to pay seems to me the the hype the piece has generated, plus all the images do the job of the artwork itself without incurring the 50 million pound sterling price tag.

That said, I must admit I'd love to see it in person.

Anonymous said...

hirst. not hurst. (i'm an ass, i know.) at least i commented, so you madeleine, better not make a post about a lack of comments. word. tonya.

madeleine said...

Hirst indeed.

Anonymous said...

pretty rad. never heard of this before. -holly
im not logged in and dont feel like it. hahaha. im cyber lazy