Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Hirst Has Jumped the Shark
Julian Spalding's long overdue attack on Damien Hirst is welcome, and is echoed by murmurs from the art market that also seem to suggest an almighty bubble is about to burst. As he says, if you bought a shark in a tank what you've got is a shark in a tank (albeit one with a fancy name) - and the conservation problems don't bear thinking about... I believe Spalding is wrong to finger Marcel Duchamp as being ultimately responsible for this kind of 'con art' or 'non art' - Duchamp was after all a real artist as well as a prankster. The man who, more than any other, paved the way for Hirst and his kind was Andy Warhol, a non-artist who turned 'art' into a blatantly money-making mass production business (though despite this, he and his people did produce some striking work, and it's hard not to like Warhol - just as it's hard not to loathe the loutish Hirst). Anyway, it's rather wonderful that the Hirst bubble is in danger of bursting just as Tate Modern launches its mighty blockbuster exhibition of.. Damien Hirst, backed by two Channel 4 documentaries, and no doubt a BBC Culture Show special and much puffery from our old friend Will Gompertz. Perhaps we should all go and see it, on the grounds that there will never be another, and we can tell our bemused grandchildren that we were there. They probably wouldn't believe us though.