Sunday, September 02, 2007

Art Space News: 'Bling' Skull goes for Big Bucks

(The work, entitled "For the Love of God," is a skull cast in platinum and encrusted with 8,601 diamonds.)

Damien Hirst's latest piece-- "For the Love of God"-- sold last Thursday for 100 million dollars (75 million euros), a record price for work sold by a living artist. A spokeswoman for the White Cube gallery in London, where the piece had been on display, stated that the diamond-encrusted skull was sold to a group of anonymous investors. The skull has been hammered in the press and by onlookers for being nothing more than a form of 'bling'-- an overly expensive item that is nothing more than an indication of wealth.

Hirst remains best known for earlier conceptual works in which creatures including a shark and a cow were preserved in formaldehyde within glass tanks. Critics have stated that the British artist would not have a career had a "corpse not been involved"-- a statement referring to Hirst's earlier work, statements he has made to the press, and his most recent venture. Nevertheless, Hirst has earned a large following of supporters throughout his career regardless of the controversy that surrounds him.

The controversy over Hirst's art is not the only media bombardment that the artist has had to deal with. He once made the grave error of stating that the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were like a work of art. On September 10, 2002, on the eve of the first anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, Hirst said in an interview with BBC News Online:
"The thing about 9/11 is that it's kind of like an artwork in its own right ... Of course, it's visually stunning and you've got to hand it to them on some level because they've achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible - especially to a country as big as America. So on one level they kind of need congratulating, which a lot of people shy away from, which is a very dangerous thing."
Due to public outrage, Hirst issued the following statement:
"I apologise unreservedly for any upset I have caused, particularly to the families of the victims of the events on that terrible day."
'Bling' or not-- the skull sold. What do you think? Does Hirst profit off of death and suffering? Does it matter if he does? Do you think there was a sense of passion behind the creation of "For the Love of God"? Or do you assume that the piece was nothing more than an example of a man showing off his wealth? Discuss.

14 comments:

old hack said...

I saw the second plane hit. and I gotta admit it was exciting. which most people would NEVER admit. It was very much like watching a child be born. Because as it was happening you KNEW things were about to change Drastically.

Anonymous said...

Damien Hirst built his whole career on "laughing his way to the bank". If people are dumb enough to take him seriously though, its really their own problem. Its best to just try and ignore his kind of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

This guy's in the same boat as Jeff Koons. Witty, spontaneous(in a contrived way), annoying, etc., but not all that aesthetically interesting. All the same, I'm glad that they exist. Hirst getting 100 mil, makes $1, 500.00 for one of my babies seem reasonable and affordable.

Kenneth Griffin said...

Hirst is a hustler. Ok, he gets these weird and maybe morbid ideas, then has a crew of actually talented artist put it together. It stirs up controversy and he gets attention and he gets PAID! It's the art of the hustler, not fine art. If I could get paid for making crap and starting trouble I would do it too!!!

Anonymous said...

This is mediocre and mundane. It offers nothing except cliche' and excess. Like the Victoria's Secret's million dollar diamond bra, it's a media ploy.

Somebody fell for it. That's all.

A fool's born every minute.

Naive John said...

Hirst, ever the plagiarist (do a Google on his shenannigans, only repeated what Karlheinz Stockhausen said regarding 9/11 being the 'greatest work of art ever' and like him he recanted too. I swear, these post modern artists, no sense of committment.

Anonymous said...

Hirst is no more a hustler than picasso. The idea that a price can be attributed to any art is pretty ludicris anyway.

I thought his pickled animals were amazing, genuinely interesting and dramatic. Not so taken with this skull, although I bet it is great fun when combined with a torch in a dark room.

Anonymous said...

i dont know alot about the work itself...i do however believe that hirsts art does at times carry valid conceptual weight , (mother and daughter divided), and at others a certain fairground attraction, (the impossibility of death ..etc).This skull thing seems more about zeros and media exposure more than anything...i mean what is at the crux of the piece, surly the price tag shouldnt be,though with damien who knows? was it made with blood diamonds, is it the skull of wicked man or a much mourned relative?What did hirst think of the mitchel hedges crystal skull in the british museum?
i prefer the crystal skull myself..way more eerie than the sparkly noggin of damiens which is about as mysterious as a prada handbag.

karin said...

Hirst has nothing to give anymore. He is boring now. He does not add anything to anything. He has had his hey-day. Boring people like boring artists. He should really... do something else. Become a doctor or a writer or a banker maybe. He doesn't do it for anyone nomoe. It's just the way it goes. /Karin

Elaine said...

ok, the piece is cool. i like damien b/c he doesnt seem to take art too seriously- he invests money into his work (and they involve a lot of $) but he doesnt know how much he'll get in return. but who ever spent that much for a skull...dont hate- damien is making big money while making his boderline crackpot ideas come to fruition. and the skull...not so impressed

Anonymous said...

impossibilities of the extreme
extreme of the impossibilities
horror/desirability/market

Anonymous said...

It sure does not matter what I think or what anyone thinks. The guy pulled off selling a beautiful piece of craftsmanship for $100 mil. My hat is off to him!Anyone that has $100 million can afford to tell the world to KISS his Ass!I think it was Picaso that said the wealthy hob nobs that let you be famous in the first place allow you to throw crap on a canvas and sell it for a million if people are stupid enough to pay for it I am smart enough to take it away from them! TEE-HEE noe that is a work of ART in and of itself!

grillz said...

Hip hop today is an incredible force upon American youth and even
beyond on a global level. Hip hop and rap have created entirely new industries
such as the hip hop jewelry genre,
upgraded the look of the common drinking cup to the majestic looking
pimp cups, have virtually
created a new and expanding language, and have even affected the
automotive industry with such bold customizations as large spinning bling bling wheels and
transformed fashion and clothing in an unprecedented way and so much more. 100 million dollars for a bling skull? Hip hop is no doubt way more influential and powerful than rock and roll.

Sir Love said...

Grillz is a moron. How can you say that hip hop is more influential than rock and roll. A lot of rappers borrow from rockers all the time. Look at Eminem and his use of Steven Tyler's tracks, or P diddy's use of Sting's tracks. Critics call Hirst's skull bling not because it is in support of hip hop, but because most people find the overuse of gold and diamonds where bling is concerned to be psychologically revealing of the wearer or creator. It is kind of on the same level as the hillbillys who drive big trucks, how do the saying go? Think about that. Hip hop is not the true example of black culture when you consider that some of the biggest investors and owners of the rap and hip hop music industry are old WHITE men who have found a new way to make slaves of the black man. Maybe that is what Hirst is saying with his skull?