Monday, 2 July 2007
The Spirit of Jarvis
So this morning I was thinking about Damien Hirst. And Michael Jackson. And what these two characters have in common: namely, at some point they both crossed The Line where people stopped telling them the truth.
Exhibit A: Michael Jackson's Face.
Exhibit B: Damian Hirst's Diamond Encrusted Scull.
Did DH stop running things by his Eminence Gris, Michael Craig-Martin, or has he simply passed The Invisible Line to the extent where even The August Presence that is MCM could tell him the truth?
Plain as the absence of nose on MJ's face it is clear that he crossed The Line years ago where highly skilled [and paid] professionals were able to say things like:
"Mr. Jackson there is not enough tissue left on your nose with which to work."
"I strongly advise against further procedures."
"For the love of God, please, please stop!"
In the case of DH, I have no problem with artists capitalizing on their considerable talents, in fact I'm all for it. And I am in no way asking the sophomorically naive and buttassedly stuuuuuuu-PID question: "But is it art?" And if you are asking that question I would like to invite you to direct your web browser Brian Sewell's site. You will enjoy one another.
What I really really really [that's 3 reallys] think we should be asking, or at least those of us who care about art, is, IS THIS GOOD ART?
The work in question definitely fits within DH's conceptual trajectory, namely an obsession with death on the grossest level (hahahaha). My first clue is that I feel a similar outrage towards The Skull, as I did towards his naiscent abattoir offerings (and I think these early dissections are some the finest work around). Now, with the Skull I can see that at the very least he is exposing the commercial underbelly of the art world, which is quite interesting to me. And in the writing of this I am feeling that perhaps this is the best piece he has made in a long, long time.
But then again, I really liked Earth Song.
I somehow think that The Spirit of Jarvis lies at the center of this matter. Maybe it's good art, maybe it's crap, maybe it's brilliant. But what is missing is that someone who is not afraid of crossing The Line, is in fact immune to The Line, and who preferably has some sort of meaningful credibility, needs to flash some asscrack at Hirst's skull to put things back into proper perspective.