Today marks the 6th anniversary of this blog!
Here's the first entry ever... back in 2003.
And now, over two million page views later, while many other DC area art blogs that were hot and new in those early days of the artblogsphere seem to have lost steam and blogapathy has infected many of them, the thrice re-named DC Art News is still moving forward and the blog is still getting new readers each month.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Hirst's spectacular painting failure
This week we may have witnessed one of the pivotal moments in the history of art. Not only has Damien Hirst, arguably the richest and most powerful artist in history, received the critical pasting of his life, but there's a sense that our whole perception of what art is, or should be, may have subtly – or not so subtly – shifted. What's this? What's this? Is this a major, international art critic saying this?
In case you've been miles from the media over the past week, Hirst, the man who became famous by putting sharks and sheep in formaldehyde, who summed up the 21st century confluence of art and shameless materialism with a £50 million diamond-encrusted skull – none of which he actually made himself – decided to exhibit paintings executed with his own hand in one of Britain's most august art institutions, the Wallace Collection.Awright then....
Here, Hirst's daubs have been hung on walls newly lined in blue silk at a cost of £250,000, close to, if not actually alongside works by Titian, Rembrandt, Velasquez and Poussin. The result has been one of the most unanimously negative responses to any exhibition in living memory. Sarah Crompton, writing in this paper, was one of the kinder critics, finding the paintings merely "thin and one note". "Deadly dull, amateurish", wrote the Guardian's critic. "Not worth looking at", said the Independent. "Dreadful", pronounced The Times.
Tom Lubbock, writing in the Independent, felt the need to preface his particularly acerbic remarks by reiterating – in an almost apologetic manner – one of the great mantras of contemporary art, that "skills needn't matter". Yet perhaps the great lesson of today's responses to Hirst's paintings is that skills most definitely do, should and always will matter.Obviously we all need to read Mark Hudson writing in The Telegraph here.
And what's most significant is that the people behind today's apparent backlash aren't the "a-child-of-four-could-do-that" brigade, but people who really know their stuff: writers with an understanding of the art of all eras who have had to pander to every kind of money-inflated idiocy in order to appear relevant in our ever more uncertain cultural market place – in order, simply, to keep their jobs. But now the critical worm has turned.
Meanwhile Hirst laughs all the way to the bank; after all, he (like Koons) is a brilliant marketeer who has (until now) fooled post modernist art critics into thinking that everything is art and technique doesn't matter.
Not the first time that art critics have been way off; it's a good thing that their/our deadliest enemy is art history and time (mostly time).
Wanna go to an artist's talk tomorrow?
Civilian Art Projects is moving soon, and they currently have Cara Ober and Nikki Painter on exhibition. Tomorrow, October 17, from 6-8, at Civilian Art Projects, they will host an artist talk which will be the last event in their old location.
Go check out the artwork and the art talk as well.