Friday, 28 November 2008

Art (TM) (C) (R)

Just watched the movie adaptation of Gustav Klimt's life and for some reason, Damian Hirst'sTM crystal skullTM popped into my head. I started thinking about what art truly represents and what it now represents in the 21st century. I think the difference would be obvious if you took a step back from all the hype surrounding art nowadays. To me (it may differ for others) art is a form of self-expression, a way to communicate the inner (or indeed exterior) feelings of an issue through something beautiful.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, circa 1907

But when you have lots of money...approach a jeweller (Bentley and Skinner of Bond Street in this case), throw your money at them...and expect a massive return of profits (as Hirst's business manager Frank expects), then what you have isn't art, it's a brand, no different from any other brand model attempting to sell a product in today's consumer market. It is disappointing to see other so called 'artist's' work this way. Don't get me wrong, the piece itself is a magnificent work of craftsmanship, but Hirst didn't make the damn thing and is getting every single piece of credit (and cash) for it. Hirst himself even said it was a silly idea. To me, it's a wonderful piece of craft, but that's it.

In the end, like most fashion (or any other product that may not have any rational benefit to it) you only pay for the brand name. It should be renamed, 'Bently and Skinner's skull', as Hirst merely provided the funding for it (and his business made anywhere between 35-41 million Pound's profit). Now my good you take cash or credit?

Is this the depressing future of art? Do people look beyond the beauty and just see pound signs glinting in their eyes? Some investment to be snapped up? What do you think? Watch this clip from 2:00 onwards to see my point...

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