Friday, August 24, 2007


Artist Damien Hirst's diamond-studded skull (no, not HIS skull!) sculpture was selected for discussion on Thursday's Art Biz Blog ( ). The REAL subject was art/ money & its effect, meaning (if any), and ramifications.


Damien Hirst is using the "Art World" to get personal recognition, power, money & celebrity. Whether all this really has anything to do with "ART" and the creation thereof is somewhat questionable. Our culture has so embraced the cult of money and celebrity that it has seeped into every facet of our lives.

It used to be that museums held to a high standard, but that is no longer the case. And Damien Hirst is certainly not the only one---there are many artists who play the celebrity game.

My friend Pirkle Jones (himself a nationally known photographer) said to me today that he had read in the New York Times that millionaire art lovers were no longer using the services of curators to assemble their art collections, but were making their own choices. If this is so, perhaps it reflects a general loss of esteem towards those in the art world who are "supposed to know".

I don't expect to always agree with a museum's choice of work to be shown or purchased, but I have a certain amount of sadness around the "money/celebrity" dance, which is detrimental to scholarship and honest inquiry. It is also apparent in the offerings of today's museum shops, which used to be a treasure trove of hard-to-find art books and excellent exhibition catalogues, and now are mostly full of tacky gift items. This shift to sheer commercialism is very disappointing to me.

My own criterion for the question "Is it art?" has to do with feeling and soul--does the piece project an honest communication from the artist? I have to say that (regardless of the apparent content of the piece)--any work that is being presented in the "National Enquirer" style of gossip/money/& celebrity-- becomes devalued in my eyes.
Image above: "Mountain Lions II" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

1 comment:

Mary Richmond said...

all really good questions. Just as the rest of the world keeps turning and changing so does the art world. Sometimes I think the art "world" is way more confused than artists are.....