Brian Sewell, art critic, writing in the Evening Standard, described Damien Hirst’s current exhibition at London’s Tate Modern as “Shiny Shit”. My little sister’s fiance, Wingnut, the self-proclaimed Karl Pilkington of the art world used a similar phrase when we were dragged there by our more culturally aware better halves at the weekend.
Now, I know a number of you will consider me a philistine for expressing these views – the same pseudo-academic, self-opinionated, wannabe aesthetes that spent hours looking at Damien’s dots, seeking the hidden meaning contained therein and the true spiritual experience that would accompany such enlightenment.
To be frank, I’m with Brian and Wingnut. Damien Hirst has put the “tat” into the Tate.
Now, I am not averse to a bit of art. The walls of my house are adorned with Klimt and Picasso and I am partial to a bit of Banksy, but, I struggled and failed to keep a straight face while surveying the artistic outpourings of Mr Hirst, who I now consider to be the true Damien, the anti-Christ of Art.
The exhibition began with a kitchen cupboard and a display of hanging pans. For anyone who is interested, my kitchen is currently up for auction on eBay.
There were then several walls of dots. Dots, dots, and more bloody coloured dots, painted over a series of eight years. Wallpaper – no more, no less. Not art.
Then we morphed into room after room of medicine cabinets, which culminated in an accurate reproduction of a branch of Boots the Chemists, lacking only a good “three for two” offer. Another room looked like the kitchen section in Ikea….
And, then into room after room of cigarette butts. Why? WTF?
The shark in formaldehyde looked like it was made out of papier mache and had been savaged by a poodle – it failed to provoke my primal fear as (apparently) it was intended to do so. It merely made me a little nervous that Mr Hirst, a man who clearly has many issues and owns a chainsaw, might be lurking somewhere within the gallery, contemplating a killing spree. The shark sold for £50,000…….
The displays expressing the lifetime of real flies and butterflies were frankly offensive and in the normal (non-artistic) world would be banned, with tree huggers pouring paint over the bicycles of museum staff and marching up and down the South Bank berating tourists for fostering animal cruelty. Hirst, Lord of the Flies, has a display where he hatches real maggots, which develop into flies, which then feed on the severed head of a cow (you couldn’t make this stuff up), before ending their lives by flying into an insect-o-cutor (an electric fly killer such as you would find in a restaurant’s kitchen). Da Vinci would have been so proud.
The pinnacle, however, was surely Damien’s “sculpture” called “Loving in a World of Desire 1996” , which the catalogue describes thus: “Here a beach ball hovers above a coloured box. Suspended on a jet of air, the sphere flutters over the structure in an interplay of precariousness and balance, and evokes thee title’s themes of love and desire.”
Oh, please. Get over yourself. As Wingnut so succinctly put it, “if you have to explain what it is, then it ain’t art”. Presumably, the ping pong ball suspended on a jet of air from a hairdrier in one of the earlier rooms was titled “foreplay”, or maybe ” w*nker”…….
Damien Hirst, according to the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List, is Britain’s richest living artist and is valued at £215 million. He must go to bed every night giggling to himself. In my opinion he is as talented, artistically, as my four year old Godson. Mind you, his mom does teach art……
Wingnut – the Karl Pilkington of the art world……….