Tag: Art criticism

Films about Art…..Art about Money

20170512120704-DamienHirst_cropped_960x600So I just finished watching Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable on Netflix, or should I say I almost finished. I have 12 minutes left but the little red circle started spiraling away and told me to  come back later. I think I’m good. I have entertained this ( bare with me while I find the right word) delusion – no that’s not it, lie- no,  farce – maybe (…..anyway it will come to me) for long enough. This particular moving picture show is engineered to perpetuate  the whimsical false narrative of an art exhibit that has completely lost the plot. Damien Hirst tried to mine the rich territory of the space between myth and fact, artifice and commerce and material culture and world-building but instead he delivered a glut of over-priced, over-sized and over-blown barnacle encrusted knock-off He-Man statues.

Damien-Hirst-The-warrior-and-the-Bear-1The film never addresses the actual specs of the exhibit. It was put on in two pavilions in the lovely setting of Venice. Apparently it took 10 years to fabricate and cost somewhere in the ballpark of 60 million dollars to produce. Hundreds of hours and assistants toiled over close to 200 pieces. The discerning art collector has their choice of three models to choose from for each piece. With or without coral along with a smaller dainty version in all manner of materials- gold etc… I guess the film is just a fancy commercial that stresses that we should all be aware of the vast amount of resources and effort devoted to this project. It also stresses how far over produced lazy conceptual art can masquerade the idea the emperor has no clothes.

r9e3CCSThe only piece I could find in the exhibit that I liked was this one. It caters to my lizard brain in the sense of beauty for beauty’s sake and the gold and the bronze play really well together.  The best part of Damien Hirst’s work are his titles but in this case they do little to add to the pieces and are rendered impotent. Am I being too harsh- maybe, but the film painfully pointed out  what could have been an engaging idea and squandered it. You feel sorry for the actors trying to sell shlocky bobbles all the while adding the odd wink to the artist. Perhaps a better title for this film could be A 20 000th of a League Under the Sea ……. because you know, it’s so shallow.

Maybe that’s the word I was looking for earlier.

Art Links


Waterfall  Olafur Eliasson Palace of Versailles 2016


The palace at Versailles has been showcasing the work of international artists on the grounds and in the Palace for nearly a decade. Artists that shown there have included Murakami, Koons and Anish Kapoor.


This year the work of Olafur Eliasson graces the French landmark.


Art critic Jerry Saltz in conversation with Glenn O’ Brien: Tea at the Beatrice.


Glenn O’ Brien started his career working for Andy Warhol at Interview magazine. He later got gigs for Rolling Stone, Spin, Allure and High Times. But to truly get a sense of the man and if you’ve got a few hours to kill and want to see some truly experimental program get yourself over to YouTube and watch a little of David Letterman’s favourite show Glenn O’ Brien’s TV Party : a local cable show with a punk rock sensibility from the late 70’s out of New York City. It veers from the highly entertaining to the unwatchable and back again. A young Jean Michel Basquait used to occasionally run the TelePrompter.


From the New World (detail)  Yang Yongliang 2014

Yang Yongliang‘s photo-collaged take on traditional Chinese landscape painting is a sight to behold.