The impossiblity of more Damien Hirst in the mind of someone living in the art world?
Observer Sean O'Hagan had a nice chit chat with Damien Hirst
show opens up in Mexico City on Wednesday.
A couple of things:
1) This is not in New York, London or even LA, which is very smart. Mexico
City at 21 million dwarfs New York and Hirst is reminding the art world of this.
In an equally calculated move last March, Hirst treated New York to a show of
than best work, a series of paintings
. The message from Hirst was clear,
he could dominate New York with second stringers and it was hilarious to watch.
Basically, he's out to show he can make his own weather, and in a deeply religious
and syncretic country like Mexico he should do fine. Also, it's not like people
with the cash for a Hirst would somehow be impeded by any location, especially
if he's showing better work than was available in New York.
2) The article points out that Hirst is, "more famous and more powerful
than any other living artist." This seems like a foregone conclusion for
the British but for us here stateside this isn't that obvious. Why? Hirst hasn't
had a major US museum retrospective and Americans for better or worse defer
to their institutions (possibly because we treat what little culture we have
with kid gloves, whereas the British assault its suffocating tenure). Still
it's a good move to remind American museums that he hasn't had a retrospective
by hitting us below the belt in Mexico (Canada wouldn't quite work as well you
3) The spin paintings are drivel but entertaining as bad painting drivel. The
butterflies are interesting and his vitrines are usually amazing. Despite the
inherent camp in his work the focus on death insures it a certain immutable
resonance even if he acts up for the ham loving British press. Like Picasso,
he very much controls his own market and that is a big deal
if you cant
beat the market system's inherent influence
just control the market...
it's not that tough when you control production. To boot he synthesizes minimalism, pop and was doing autopises on the dead ideas that have not been resuscitated way before Dana Schutz did.
It should be curated; Hirst, Schutz, Warhol, Murakami, Durant, Furnas, Cao Fei and maybe Banks Violette... call the show "Mortality?"
I saw his show last year in NYC. A lot of people were against it as he supposedly did not paint the things himself. I don't care. It was a spectacle. Gorgeous.
I liked the skull painting... it was ok in a spectacular kind of way, which tells you something about the strength of the artist.
I should also point out that the observer piece is the typical sort of sensationalist thing the British press regularly print on Hirst. Yes he can be a mess but he has moments of brilliance that make people like Matthew Barney seem more like the empty specacle that many accuse Hirst of stooping to.
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