Friday, June 01, 2007

Art Space News: Damien Hirst and his Diamond Skull

('For The Love of God' by Damien Hirst is currently on display at the White Cube gallery in East London.)

Controversial artist Damien Hirst is at it again. He has unveiled his latest work - a £50 million diamond skull titled 'For The Love of God'. The skull is the most expensive piece of contemporary art ever created. Hirst has stated that the skull (encrusted with 8,601 diamonds) is a "celebration against death". However, art critics feel that it is more of a celebration of Hirst's hefty bank account. Others have mentioned that it is a 'celebration OF death' due to the history of blood diamonds and the diamond trade in general.

Hirst, 41, is no stranger to creating work that critics observe as being audacious- at best. However, the multi-millionaire artist has captivated several major art collectors and has a huge following of supporters throughout the world.
Strong support for his work has not protected Hirst from people questioning the validity and merit of his new piece. Many have stated that the skull is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Critics have also lashed out at Hirst for being a 'wannabe Warhol' in that he often does not take part in the physical creation of his work.

The skull is a platinum replica of a human skull purchased by Hirst two years ago in a London taxidermy shop. Hirst has stated that he hopes it "makes the people who see it feel good, that it’s uplifting, that it takes your breath away". I think the only breath being taken away is from the gasps of viewers when they discover the cost of the sparkly skull. Hirst went on to say, "I wouldn’t mind if it happened to my skull after my death.".

Regardless of the controversy surrounding it, I will admit that the skull offers a unique vision of life and death. However, I personally do not think this is a piece that will stand the test of time. Some things are better left buried, right?
What do you think about this piece? Is it art? Is it simply an expensive stunt? Does it portray the vision Hirst desired to capture? Does it matter that his work is often created by studio assistants? What do you think about 'For The Love of God'? I look forward to reading your comments!

Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

It's more like craft... Damian Hirst, though celebrated, is highly overrated.

Anonymous said...

another lesser known artist--christoph steinmeyer did a "festive skull" piece a year or two ago that was better. it was a fake skull covered with mirrored bits. the result was a rotating disco ball skull. no one had to die and it brought more booty-shaking joy.

chris kerr

Balhatain said...


Thanks for pointing that out.

I just find it strange how he views the skull as a symbol of life when he could have used that money to save lives through charity. Maybe he will end up donating the skull, but I doubt it since he has mentioned that he would like for it to be added to a historic collection.

I don't think it is going to be a piece that stands out. I don't see it making an impact. Maybe someone has a different opinion?

Anonymous said...

"just find it strange how he views the skull as a symbol of life when he could have used that money to save lives through charity." Good idea.

memorial art gallery said...

i am very pleased that Damien Hurst has invested in this wonderful piece of art.
it has been something i have wanted to see all my life
i think its is a very important image. well done Damien

Michael Harold said...

Marketing as art has a contemporary pedigree that precedes Warhol, extending backwards at least to Duchamp. It is no longer the visual field (ie., the image) that establishes value in art, but the art's and the artist's access to the market. Hirst understands this and exploits it as well as anyone.

For any number of reasons, this diamond-plated skull could easily be exhibited side-by-side with (and would form a perfect compliment to) one of Faberge's eggs.

Anonymous said...

Surely this work perfectly expresses our age .
Every living thing , be it shark , cow ,
or human , has a soul .
This is an anonymous skull .
Do we care who's skull it's modeled on ?

Anonymous said...

Being an artist myself I find Hirst's latest work to be undermining to the rest of us. He is nothing but overrated. Why should a diamond-encrusted skull bring joy to anybody other than those that revel in multi-million delights and self-graitfication as Hirst seems to while the plebonians of today would ultimately think not only "what a waste of good money" but also "i wonder what the poor buggers who died to retrieve those diamonds would think". Damien, for God's sake, if you're not gonna make work that's actually universally enjoyable (you're no Warhol afterall) just don't bother.

Libby Tucker BA(hons)

Anonymous said...

George Braque said in his NoteBooks, "In Art there's is only one thing that matters: what cannot be explained.... I can think off many explanations that might..... justify the existence of this object in the world, but none of them have to do with what Art is about.

Anonymous said...

Its better off hidden and burried for some treasure hunter to dig up years later...thats all it is, gross value.

Anonymous said...

Don't be offended by this, it gains value this way. instead, be offended by anyone giving any potential credit for this type of marketing dross with the question 'is it Art?'.

arturo meade de la cueva said...

I just wonder where this diamonds come from and if mr Hirst knows children works in diamonds mines. In the past other cultures like mayans use to cover skulls with turqueoise and othr precius stones for burials, but of course they did not sell them for millions. I jut find Hirst pieces as a great way to make bussines but certanly no art

Alexander Reyes said...

Although the piece is gaudy, It is extremely hilarious. The title "For the Love of God" Can be considered sarcastic with just adding "Oh" for the love of God. It challenges people to consider the illusion of monitary worth as well as the illusion of life. If you think that it is lesser because other people made it then discredit all pompous directors and their movies, for they did nothing except direct, which is a glorious responsibility. It evokes haunting emotions, and reflects the darkness of humanity.

Alexander Reyes said...

Althouh the piece is gaudy, I find it hilarious. Replace "For the Love of God", with "OH For the Love of God", and it is a sarcastic remark challenging the illusions of monetary value and illusions of life itself. It evokes haunting emotions, and reflects the darkness of humanity.

kellymuthafukinpatrick said...

the fact that there is so much controversy over this piece shows that people care. in order to be art someone has to care, and the controversial comments throughout this blog is art in itself. Good or bad, liked or disliked, the diamond skull is in fact a work of art...crafted yes (by Hirst or assistants) , but art none the less.
it is a debated symbolic blinging remain of some person and it has left an impression on our culture.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Garcia is turning in his gravy!
I see this being prised from many pairs of cold, dead hands.
A greedy man indeed.

aukus said...

The skull's certainly up for debate, however, when it comes to art, especially contemporary art this is great plus. Art needs to be that debated for the love of us all. How can we evolve otherwise? Whether you like this piece or not - Hirst made this piece just right, because we're still talking about this.

I personally love this piece so much, i've stolen a huge poster from the buss stop months/year ago. It's part of my house and every day it makes me smile. I got this nice degree BFA- but the question remains if i'll be ever able to make a piece of art which will evoke similar sentiments.

SO - suck it up people, this work of art will be more renowned than either of us small minded comments.

aukus ( Fine Artist from Holland)

P.S. did we forget that even Rembrandt or Rubens(or any old artist back in the days) used people in the studios to prefab paintings - only the leave a finishing touch for the master to execute? Grow up you all ~ nobody figured this out before hirst and a fake skull as a disco-ball is a poor example of just not getting it.