Wednesday, June 27, 2007

But seriously, now

For reasons I do not understand, Damien Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull is getting massive amounts of attention. I don’t get the piece. There’s death, diamonds and art. Is it about the death of art? Is it a statement about how art outlives us? Is he pulling off some kind of stunt about soaring art prices (100 million dollars in this case)? I’m not really sure and I’m not interested enough to pursue it. In fact, the whole thing just disgusts me.

A friend pointed out the other day that I’m quick to pan this work, but I support David Hammon’s recent installation of painted and scorched fine fur coats, sparsely installed in an Upper East Side mansion/gallery. Although, I understand the comparison (something along the lines of luxury, ostentation, sacrilege), the Hammon’s work is poetic, dead-serious (no pun intended), and also, not-for-sale.

I keep saying this to myself: art is not a stunt, art is not entertainment. To quote Susan Sontag, “Space reserved for being serious is hard to come by in modern society, whose chief model of a public space is the mega-store (which may also be an airport or museum).” Art should aim to be this serious space.

[Note: I need a new studio mate. You’ll get a small room with a door, full walls, a large window, 29th Street, $425 (including electricity). Perfect for a writer. Available August or if better for you, September. Call me 917 940 7030.]

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