Damien Hirst Autopsy with Sliced Human Brain 2004
Tomorrow the Damien Hirst show at The
Portland Art Museum
opens in the Miller-Meigs endowed room in the Jubitz
Center. This is only his second solo US museum show and the first on the West
Coast. Culled from the holdings of supercollector Eli Broad it is a major
coupe even if it is a small show. Hirst is one of the two most influential living
artists today (the other is Murakami) and without him people like Matthew Barney,
Banks Violette, David Altmejd, Gregory Crewdson (think presentationism) and even Jarrett
Mitchell wouldn't have been quite the same. Hirst brought death back into contemporary
art in a way that only Warhol and Picasso can also claim. Unlke most current
stars (but like Murakami) he was very generous and artists like Tracy Emin, Sarah
Lucas and Marc Quinn were direct recipients of his promotional efforts. I also
like the fact he worked as a gallery installer before becoming famous, it shows
as he is the master of presentation.
Unlike other artists he also controls his own market, who else has transcended
the system like that? Some maintain his persona and success have overshadowed
the work but I think it's his way of pushing away the death inherent in having
major museum's mount major retrospectives, he's circumventing the blockbuster
system creating his own weather. He's even still doing some excellent work (but of course he's a risk taker and has his share of flubs). His vitrines like 1000
Years and The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
are master works of Fin de siecle
20th Century art and this show sports
a nice vitrine along with a bank of 3 medicine cabinets and a painting or two.
Yes there are opening for these shows and space is limited so you've got to
join the Contemporary
(disclosure Im Co-VP)... yes there are less costly artist memberships, just ask.
After Hirst it is Kehinde Wiley... PAM is doing a nice job!
Sunday is also the last day for Roy
and inaugural offering for Jennifer Gately's new Apex Program
so get over to the museum this weekend. Chris Johanson is next.
I like Hirst's paintings. The medicine cabinets are kind of hard to wrap my head around when they're not shown in context with Hirst's other work. There was one in Miami in show of other name brand artists (Koons, Warhol, Cattelan, etc), and it didn't seem like anything at all. But not in a good way. It was kind of funny thinking about how the collector was probably so proud to have a Hirst on display that i didn't really matter whether or not the piece was any good. Funny. Everybody who makes and shows art could learn a lesson from this.
I generally like the medicine cabinets but the vitrines are the reason he's so important.
The show looks pretty good (most of it is later stuff)... the cheeky pop part comes across but so does the more arid formality. The work provoked a lot of discussion which just goes to show how good Hirst is at pressing buttons, he studies human nature by provoking his viewers.
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