Thursday, August 28, 2008

Damien Hirst is His Own Market

So I am mesmerized by Damien Hirst's market strategies. I think that the market is his art now.

Beginning with the diamond encrusted skull For The Love of God, which, to me, refers to both the audacity of the object itself and the market value of the medium as the new God; he has now moved on to something of an everything must go sale at Sotheby's. Which, let's face it, is also a gaudy mountain of arbitrary value.

Damien Hirst's tanks and cases are easily couched into this Beuys/Duchamp aesthetic, and can be judged and valued by historical lineage, but his paintings are really gaudy and refer to nothing. I mean, the spin-art, naughty titled paintings, and butterfly paintings are easily as bad as Duchamp's pre-Futurist, death warmed over Impressionism. Worse maybe. But Hirst's paintings when stood up to Poons, Newmann, or Pollock don't hold up. And I think that that is also the point.

This market discourse is something that I think Hirst is responsible for. Does the market completely and utterly hold our belief in Art, rather than the power of the art produced? Is he playing consumerism against itself and making 65 million British Pounds in the process? (That is 1.2 zillion in American money) Very Warhol-esque gesture, no?

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