Thursday, June 14, 2007

Damien Hirst's "For the Love of God"

In Britain, artist Damien Hirst's personal and professional reputation is well-established. The most famous and infamous of the Young British Artists (YBAs), he is best known for his Natural History series - dead animals, such as a shark, a sheep or a cow, preserved in formaldehyde.
Hirst enthusiasts say his work is bold and ground-breaking, that it sets the standard for contemporary art in the early part of the 21st century. But his numerous detractors, including respected figures in the art world as well as the tabloid press, argue that there is little more to Hirst's work than hype. He has been accused of being derivative and being an artistic con-artist.
Whatever the critics say, there is no doubt that his work has had a huge impact on the art scene, particularly in England, and has brought contemporary art into the full glare of media attention. Damien Hirst continues to explore his fascination with death, medicine, belief and faith with his new piece entitled "For the Love of God," a diamond-encrusted human skull worth £50m - said to be the most expensive piece of contemporary art currently available.
The 18th Century skull is entirely covered in 8,601 jewels, while new teeth were made for the artwork at a cost of £14m. The centrepiece of the 41-year-old's creation is a pear-shaped pink diamond, set in the skull's forehead. The skull, which was bought from a shop in Islington, north London, is thought to belong to a 35-year-old European who lived between 1720 and 1810.
Well, I'll give him credit where it is due. It is very thought provoking and fascinating work on a lot of levels, even if i find it personally in somewhat dubious taste. It is rather "tabloid" art in my opinion, but who could fault Hirst with that in our increasingly "tabloid" society? I have no doubt someone will step up to the plate and buy this, and I guess that old pinback button we all wore in art school is indeed true..."Art is anything you can get away with."

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