January 5, 2012

Quick study: Damien Hirst edition

In a  Radio Times interview this week, David Hockney (who was just appointed a member of the prestigious Order of Merit by the Queen) ripped into Damien Hirst, calling his use of assistants insulting to other artists. "It's a little insulting to craftsmen," he said. "I used to point out, at art school you can teach the craft; it's the poetry you can't teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft." He quoted a Chinese proverb that to be a painter "you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won't do." Once Hirst said he employed assistants to make works (such as the slew of spot paintings) because he "couldn't be fucking arsed doing it."  (via The Guardian)

 From the workshop of Damien Hirst, Bromchlorophenol Blue," 1996, household gloss on canvas, 2 1/2 x 3 inches

From the workshop of Damien Hirst, Eucatropine, 2005, household gloss on canvas, 34 x 34 inches 

And, speaking of Hirst's spot paintings, as of Thursday, January 12, all of the spots will be on display at the Gagosian branches around the world. According to Carol Vogel in the NYTimes, Hirst has come up with a spot print ("dedicated personally to you") for anyone who visits all eleven shows: two in London, three in New York, one each in Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Athens, Geneva and Beverly Hills. Participants have to register online to get a special "Spot Challenge Registration Card," that gets marked by the gallerina at each location. “I figured it would be pretty difficult to visit all the galleries," Hirst told Vogel in an email. "Totally admirable if anyone managed it, so admirable in fact that I thought they would deserve a work of art, so we came up with the idea to do the challenge. I’d love it if people manage it. I remember the golden tickets in Willy Wonka, maybe it’s a bit like that.”

The link for the challenge that was posted in the NYTimes article was down for a while (second thoughts?) but seems to be back online. Am I the only one who thinks this would make a hilarious movie? Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker is looking for a new project...

UPDATE:
Greg.org calculates how long it would take and how much it would cost to participate in the Spot Challenge.
At Reuters, Felix Salmon posts a more luxurious itinerary that costs $108,572 for a 19-day itinerary.
At Star Wars Modern, guest blogger Jennifer Bostic submits a $13,206 itinerary for the hipster trying to make a profit.

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2 comments:

"I used to point out, at art school you can teach the craft; it's the poetry you can't teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft." Amen

Mr. Hirst's work is kind of like watching commercials. I don't feel the power of who made the piece; his self-admitted lack of interaction with his work leaves me flat. But, when he asks millions for work he may not have even touched himself, in my mind it becomes an issue of professional integrity.

I feel he gives abstract and conceptual artists a bad name, and I am appalled that I cannot look at any work with his name on it without feeling it is cheapened. Fortunately, I can mostly avoid that.