September 7, 2007

"For the Love of God"

 Damian Hurst Skull

"For the Love of God, what are you going to do next?" asked Damian Hirst's exasperated mother and that become the title of his latest art piece

Whether her comment came before or after she saw her son's life-size platinum skull encrusted with 8601 fine diamonds, I don't know.  Maybe it was after she saw the $100 million price tag or the investment group who bought the single most expensive piece of contemporary art ever created.  Or as William Shaw writes in the New York Times, "the most outrageous piece of bling."

Hirst is "very pleased with the end result.  I think it's ethereal and timeless."

Hirst, famous pickler of sharks and bovine bisector, all his art is about death. This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. “I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one — but just prohibitively expensive,” he recalls. “Then I started to think — maybe that’s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.”

Hirst, who financed the piece himself, watched for months as the price of international diamonds rose while the Bond Street gem dealer Bentley & Skinner tried to corner the market for the artist’s benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, “For the Love of God” now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.

Blake Gopnik writes in the Washington Post

What could be a better time to make this piece than now, and who a better artist for it than Hirst? More than anyone, Hirst knows that we have reached a new level of absurd consumption -- in the art market, clearly, but also elsewhere on this carbon-laden world.

No one claims that this is even close to being a major moment in the making of art. Everyone knows it is the greatest moment in the selling of it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at September 7, 2007 8:49 AM | Permalink