Sunday, May 08, 2005

damien hirst turns into painter?

How does a well know conceptual artist go photorealist?  Well he can do as Damien Hirst did and hire a staff of assistants who will paint the photorealist paintings for him!  The debate not only lies in Hirst's team that translate his ideas to canvas but also his reasoning for switching mediums.  I understand that some of the "best" artists have working assistants to complete large projects on oversee production, but should Hirst have a staff of painters?  The ideas belong to him but does this open the doors for any artist to switch mediums and hire a staff?  Most...ok...almost all artists can afford a staff but if they could would they out-source their work?  Will we see artists cutting costs and hiring workers from India to complete their projects like other American businesses?  Being a painter myself, I feel an eerie tingle in my bones that tells me there is something wrong with having someone else paint your paintings?  Damien, why not just take a picture of your sculptures and installations?  Why create a painting?

Damien states in a recent interview in Art News, "I was getting sick of myself."  Asked what he was sick of, Hirst replied, "Putting boxes around things.  Making Damien Hirsts.  I mean, I'm always going to make Damien Hirst. But I was starting to think there was a Damien Hirst before we started or something."  High regards are being awarded to Hirst's solo show of paintings at Gagosian Gallery in New York.  He states that his cure for getting sick of creating the same work is to make paintings.  I feel this isn't a fix at all.  Hasn't every artist become stuck in a style and tried to recreate what worked in the past in a disguised new form?  I could be compared to having a sell out show of paintings and then turning around and selling sketches of those paintings or in Hirst's case to make small 3-d models of the paintings.  Another reason for giving Mr. Hirst a hard time is that he is selling this paintings for sums ranging $250,000 to $2 million! 

Hirst ends the interview by saying, "Paint's great.  It's like magic. You've got something that's two-dimensional, but it's a whole world.  I got sick of thinking painting is dead."  I just want to shout to him, "Yes, it is magic when you don't even have to touch a paint brush and million dollar paintings appear before you!"

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No, these aren't pictures....but oil on canvas!!
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Blogger Charles Pompilius said...

I'd like to hire someone to paint my pictures for me. I'm a good painter, but not especially facile, and I'm slow. My work is quite labor intensive, and bringing a fresh hand to it might result in better paintings. After all, doesn't product matter more than process, or even authorship? Does it matter whether Shakespeare really wrote everything that is attributed to him? Are we moved less by the work?

The more important question regarding Hirst's work is whether it has any real aesthetic value. It doesn't. He is yet another inbred offspring of the insular world of contemporary art, which in itself is the stillborn consequence of the failed modernist project. Hirst and his ilk revel in the unfortunate reality that art and culture are now separate. Contemporary art is meaningless because it doesn't speak to or connect with very many people. Don't blame the artists for this. Neither blame Darwin, Marx, and Fraud. I don't know where to place the blame, but I do know that Hirst, Koons, and the rest of them make art that neither shapes culture nor affirms its values. Someday, the janitors will haul the rest of it to the dumpster, but this time it won't be an accident.

11:11 AM  

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