Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dan Fox from frieze on Damien Hirst - art criricism is not dead

'Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings  1986–2011.' Installation view, Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York, USA. (Photo by Rob McKeever)
Following my previous posts on art criticism here are a couple of extracts from the frieze blog, Dan Fox's review of Damien Hirst's Gagosian show(s) Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011. Fox has titled the review Bland Ambition and in this instance critical writing is indeed alive and well...

Mostly it was inertia that kept me from Hirst’s show. Every pompous parp of PR trumpeting about it merely reinforced my indifference; the same flat-line reaction I have each time I see Hirst leering at the camera in his press photographs, looking like a fossil from the Britpop era for whom time froze sometime around 1995 in the Groucho Club toilets with Keith Allen and Alex James. The more the artistic significance of Hirst’s spot paintings was asserted – epoch-defining facts about how these works were made over the course of 25 years and lent to Gagosian by more than 150 private individuals and public institutions from 20 countries, and, yes, the inevitable publicity shots of Hirst mugging it up – the heavier my shoulders shrugged.


.....death and money – the perennial themes running through his work. I’m open to the idea that there is a serious argument to be made for such themes in certain pieces. In the case of ‘The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011’, however, it’s true only inasmuch as it makes me aware of how little time I have on this planet and how little of it I wish to spend looking at these works. They appear exhausted, self-absorbed, vain. It’s like watching some over-the-hill but wealthy rock star convinced that he/she still has some relevance when the world around them has moved on. Hirst’s show conjures the world of music industry exploitation captured by The Smiths in their song ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’: ‘Re-issue! / Re-package! / Re-package! / Re-evaluate the songs / Double pack, with a photograph / Extra track (and a tacky badge).’

You can read the full review on the frieze blog HERE. A great review, a great read.

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