Author Topic: Damien Hirst  (Read 8000 times)

LEE

Damien Hirst
« on: April 04, 2012, 02:51:17 pm »
I'm sorry but I just don't get it.  I watched the documentary about Damien Hirst, hoping it would give me an insight into why he was such a highly-respected artist.
Check out one of his series of "Sex Pistols Medicine Cabinets" from a previous exhibition.

Medicine Cabinet

I kid you not...they are cabinets full of household medicines, or, to quote an art critic who knows better than me.

Quote
A good friend of mine (who is an artist) and I were recently discussing the concept of art and his view was that art is an on-going conversation in the universal mind.  To that end, certain artists produce work that adds to the conversation while others make art that does not.  Love or hate Damien Hirst, it’s undeniable that his work adds to the conversation.  ”Medicine Cabinets” at L&M Arts in New York is the second exhibition from Damien Hirst that I’ve seen in person and I love watching people’s reactions to his work.  They are strong and dramatic.
Assembled together for the first time are Damien Hirst’s “Sex Pistols Cabinets” from 1989 where every medicine cabinet is named after a song from the Sex Pistols’ debut album “Never Mind the Bollocks.”  Similar to the way the Sex Pistols changed music with their album, Damien Hirst changed art when these works were introduced.  There is no denying that the juxtaposition of simplicity with complication in the cabinets is anything but “pretty vacant,” to quote the Sex Pistols track

I am such a philistine...but good luck to the chancer..I'd do the same thing if I could sell bathroom cabinets for a few grand each (IKEA take note).

Damien Hirst - Real art or just a lucky chancer spouting bullshit to the gullible rich?

(Stands back after lighting blue touch-paper of "is it art?" debate)

clarion

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 02:58:27 pm »
...Damien Hirst... talentless chancer...

That.
Getting there...

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 03:36:03 pm »
I've yet to meet any 'concept art' that does anything for me.   I regard 'art' as something that communicates a feeling or a viewpoint to me. So a photograph can easily be art - the photographer picking the lighting and composition to communicate a feeling. Ditto abstract art.

The best bit of concept I heard of, and closest to being what I would call 'art', was a guy who got 'known' poets to each write a poem about peace. He then had them recite their poems out loud, and captured the last puffs of breath of the last syllables in glass jars. These jars were delivered to 10 downing street (just before we invaded Iraq).

But without knowing what is in the jars, they are just jars.

If you take a piece of 'concept' art out of context, does it still communicate something? Even Warhol's baked bean tin does that. Tracey Emin's bed? Pass me the other one, it has bells on it.
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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 03:41:26 pm »
But without knowing what is in the jars, they are just jars.

If you take a piece of 'concept' art out of context, does it still communicate something? Even Warhol's baked bean tin does that. Tracey Emin's bed? Pass me the other one, it has bells on it.

As someone said last week "the Mona Lisa in a gutter is still the Mona Lisa" .
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

sas

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 04:06:48 pm »
If you take a piece of 'concept' art out of context, does it still communicate something? Even Warhol's baked bean tin does that. Tracey Emin's bed? Pass me the other one, it has bells on it.

If you take a talented solo musician out of context, do they still communicate something? Probably not. Does that prove anything? Why shouldn't a piece of art be intended to be seen in context?
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Tigerrr

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 04:21:39 pm »
'Art appreciation' sits at the top of the human development needs index.  Its purpose is to communicate in two distinct ways, both to the appreciator and his/her audience.  Once you have made a lot of money or accumulated power it is essential to demonstrate that this was because of innate talents and sensibilities that explain why you are entitled to the power and wealth. That is why one starts to eat and drink rare and expensive foods/wines etc - and why rich people appreciate art better, and want to hang seriously expensive statemnents on their walls. (plus investment of course).
They always have dome of course - the great masters were usually sponsored by gangster villains like the medicis or the church etc.
A Mona Lisa in the gutter is actually known as rubbish - it only becomes art when labelled as such.
The value of the art is increased if only the very rich (supported by the entourage of liggers and bohemian vampire hangerson of The 'art world') can 'understand' it. It is at its sublime pinnacle when it truly delivers the emperors new clothes. This is what happens when people simply don't know what to do with all their money but crave recognition by spending it - basically Damien Hirst is an extension of the world of Luis Vuitton but without the craft content. Luxury branding.
If you read some of the complete and utter drivelling nonsense that is written by the overeducated but fundamentally empty headed drones of that world you can see it really is. That is what the critic above calls 'the conversation' as he patronises. 
There - I think that sums it up pretty well.
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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 04:27:27 pm »
...Damien Hirst... talentless chancer...

That.
Not talentless. He has a great talent: he is a highly-skilled self-publicist, & a con artist extraordinaire.

He's not any other kind of artist, though. He doesn't make the things he puts his name to (he employs others to do that).

Oh - just read Tigerrr's post. Yes. "Luxury branding". The emperor's new clothes: the value is in being seen to pay a lot for them. Hirst is good at the patter which makes the stupidly & stupid rich want to give him their money.
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Rhys W

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2012, 10:57:57 pm »
I'm with LEE on this. I've watched the recent coverage with the intention of giving him one last chance to impress me, but there's nothing there. That one with the hatching flies that get zapped raises a wry smile - but that's a throwaway gag, not great art.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 11:10:20 pm »
I find Damien Hirst's creations vary from boring to revolting, averaging around ugly, but there's no denying he furthers conversation.
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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 11:15:57 pm »
Where would we place Anthony Gormley? He has an international reputation for public art which people like. Even providing a recognisable logo for a whole region. Hirst has some good ideas, but I prefer Gormley.

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 11:24:38 pm »
Gormley's work is limited in its range, but I like the way that people interact with it.



Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 11:27:21 pm »
Is that your bike, ESL? Good to see you supporting Bristol's finest! Not that you're actually supporting it there, unless the statue's modelled on you... But anyway...
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2012, 12:04:03 am »
'Art appreciation' sits at the top of the human development needs index.  Its purpose is to communicate in two distinct ways, both to the appreciator and his/her audience.  Once you have made a lot of money or accumulated power it is essential to demonstrate that this was because of innate talents and sensibilities that explain why you are entitled to the power and wealth. That is why one starts to eat and drink rare and expensive foods/wines etc - and why rich people appreciate art better, and want to hang seriously expensive statemnents on their walls. (plus investment of course).
They always have dome of course - the great masters were usually sponsored by gangster villains like the medicis or the church etc.
A Mona Lisa in the gutter is actually known as rubbish - it only becomes art when labelled as such.
The value of the art is increased if only the very rich (supported by the entourage of liggers and bohemian vampire hangerson of The 'art world') can 'understand' it. It is at its sublime pinnacle when it truly delivers the emperors new clothes. This is what happens when people simply don't know what to do with all their money but crave recognition by spending it - basically Damien Hirst is an extension of the world of Luis Vuitton but without the craft content. Luxury branding.
If you read some of the complete and utter drivelling nonsense that is written by the overeducated but fundamentally empty headed drones of that world you can see it really is. That is what the critic above calls 'the conversation' as he patronises. 
There - I think that sums it up pretty well.

Most excellent post!

I was going to say most modern art is the emperor's new clothes, but you've said it better than I could.

And context is everything.

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 07:37:04 am »

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 09:17:06 am »
I cycle past Hirst's factory every day. It seems to have taken years to build and I'm not even sure it is finished yet. At one point construction appeared to have stopped for many months, and only restarted after he sold off a load of stuff.


LEE

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 10:13:25 am »
Where would we place Anthony Gormley? He has an international reputation for public art which people like. Even providing a recognisable logo for a whole region. Hirst has some good ideas, but I prefer Gormley.

Did Gormley make those statues?  I mean did he carve something out of clay and cast it in metal before putting it on a beach?

If so I think Gormely is a talented artist.

Damien Hirst's equivalent approach to art seems to consist of having an idea to put some metal statues on a beach but having a talented craftsman make the statues.

Art is not just about an idea, there surely must be an element of skill involved as well. 

If not then there is no point in having someone create a real thing, you could just describe your idea to people who were stupid enough to listen.

I just had an idea for a huge bronze Elephant, upside down, in Hyde Park.  A bronze statue of Tony Blair is stood, on his head, next to it.  That's my idea for art.  I haven't got the talent to create it and I don't know what the fuck it means but I could get some talented people to create it for me.

Am I an artist?

Actually, I'm starting to like my Elephant idea...it's better than Hirst's cabinets and I bet there are many critics who could tell me what was going on in my mind that made me create it (none of them would guess it was to take the piss out of Damien Hirst on behalf of a cycle forum).

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2012, 11:10:57 am »
'The elephant in the room turned the world upside down'
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Rhys W

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2012, 12:18:12 pm »
But it's not in a room, it's in a park. Oh, hang on... I think I see what you've done there... wow! Someone call Charles Saatchi!

Mr Larrington

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 12:18:37 pm »
Modern art = what happened when painters stopped looking at girls.
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Andrij

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 12:31:37 pm »
Modern art = what happened when painters stopped looking at girls.

Sigged!  ;D
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Mr Larrington

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2012, 12:53:12 pm »
Modern art = what happened when painters stopped looking at girls.

Sigged!  ;D

I stole it from Len Deighton who appears in turn to have pinched it from some bloke called John Ciardi.
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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2012, 01:04:37 pm »
Where would we place Anthony Gormley? He has an international reputation for public art which people like. Even providing a recognisable logo for a whole region. Hirst has some good ideas, but I prefer Gormley.

Did Gormley make those statues?  I mean did he carve something out of clay and cast it in metal before putting it on a beach?

If so I think Gormely is a talented artist.

Damien Hirst's equivalent approach to art seems to consist of having an idea to put some metal statues on a beach but having a talented craftsman make the statues.



He takes casts of his own body usually. The Angel of the North is based on his own body, apart from the wings, obviously. That was essentially constructed by shipwrights, I don't think we could expect anyone to make such a piece unaided. All artists have workshops, that's what being a master craftsman is about, and that's why we call exceptional art 'A Masterpiece'. That work marks the transition from being a journeyman. It's the art that matters, not the method of production.
I'd see Hirst as being 'Metropolitan', he's dealing with the psychological issues of urban life, alienation, and the other stuff. Most people experience psychoses during adolescence, and leave them behind. The pressure of city life extends those issues and we see art like Hirst's. A view arises that concern with such issues is a sign of 'depth', and that representational art and landscape art are 'shallow'. It's further complicated by experience of art under totalitarian conditions, so that 'deep' art is seen as a sign of suffering. I can see the point of Hirst's stuff, but it doesn't speak to me, because I'm shallow, and I see that as a perfectly natural state.

Euan Uzami

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2012, 01:08:56 pm »
My opinion on art is that for it to be good, it generally has to have taken skill to think up, and skill to actually produce.
Most modern art it could be argued that it took skill to think up, but rarely took much skill to produce.
OK, it's a scribble. It might be a scribble that "represents the disenfranchisement of working class society with politics in the modern age", or it might be a swirling pattern that contains "themes of submissiveness and dark undertones of power and control", but it's still just a scribble or a swirly pattern. Even I could have done it - my sister could have done something a lot better that I know what it's meant to be.
How do we know it's what the artist intended it to be, and wasn't just what randomly came out when they flung a paintbrush at a paper?
How do we know they didn't decide what it's supposed to be after they'd finished it?

If it didn't obviously take skill to produce then I'm afraid I'm always going to be unimpressed, as I'll just think 'well I could have done that!'
If the artist didn't even make it himself, but merely provided the concept, then that presumes that the audience only cares about the conception of it, rather than the production of it.
Why does Damien Hirst even bother to keep up the pretence that he actually even conceives them? I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't, in all cases. He can produce far more works and thus make far more money if he's got a close team of associates to design things for him - the thought must have crossed his mind. He's effectively just set up a company that bangs things out that he then puts his name to - because let's face it, that's all he's really selling, his name.



Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2012, 02:08:14 pm »
I just had an idea for a huge bronze Elephant, upside down, in Hyde Park.  A bronze statue of Tony Blair is stood, on his head, next to it.  That's my idea for art.  I haven't got the talent to create it and I don't know what the fuck it means but I could get some talented people to create it for me.

Am I an artist?
If you were an artist, you would be able to instruct your artisans how to create the bits of it you don't do yourself (probably most of it), in detail, and inspire/bully them to carry on until they'd got it right according to your ideas. If you were a great artist, you could also either think of a meaning for it, or convince others to ascribe to you the meanings they give it.

By these standards, Hirst is a great artist - but I still don't like him (or his art).
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

Simonb

Re: Damien Hirst
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2012, 02:37:23 pm »
Am I an artist?

Yes. I'll buy it.

Now go out and convince everyone else -- the more (and the richer/more influential) the better!