Arts Hub Column August

I am contributing a column to Arts Hub Uk website here the latest

July 31, medical 2007

Empty Skulls and Pearly Kings

 

Another week of sun and Moogee may start dog-bathing again. Meanwhile the shower of marvellous art continues to drench us with facts and figures. Mr.Hirst (Moogee’s favourite artist) has seen fit to make some headlines (with a little help from his overactive PR dept.) by releasing a diamond-encrusted bonce. Said Pearly Bling has made many column inches and left people in no doubt that we witnessing the greatest living artist since…oh Rolf Harris I’d guess. That the bonce is tarted up with a batch of sparklers of indeterminate lineage ( pace Clive James in BBC article) we are left to wonder at the beauty of the artifact. A noble addition to the fake skulls that the Incas knocked out circa 1952 this latest ‘zeitgeist trembler’ is as good as anything the Hirst as ever done i.e. it’s not very good at all. As if by a miracle (or tie-in) David Beckham dyed his bonce in hommage. Moogee waits with trembling paws for the Becks and Posh his and hers diamond skulls to be ‘released’ soon.

Apologies for older dogs who may think artworks are ‘shown’ or only emerge fully formed from artist’s studios. Nowadays artists ‘release’ works in the same way as the latest fashion line hits Top Shop (Kate Moss or Frida Khalo?). Some of this may stand test of time but as that smart old dog ‘Ozzer’ Wilde said ‘Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.’

 So it good to know that Hirsty has already knocked out a second Fish in a tank to keep the market bouyant. Expect a Top-Shop Emin Tent soon with back page adverts in Sunday Times and how long before individual Mark Quinn blood heads will be sold as Blood bags for hospitals as part of yet another PFI initiative to ensure that dying pensioners see great art as they waste away in corridors. Yes life is consumption these days and a big Woofy yes to the show and tell generation.

Thank god the art world has cleansed itself of those dour old duffers with their paint smeared hands and anti-social graces. A skull is worth a hundred Howard Hodgkins or Francis Bacons because all that depth and intensity and craft just got in the way of a good headline. You cannot expect your average Oxbridge hack to delve deeply into the artist’s psyche as they wolf their dinner down in Grouchos can you?

Thankfully Warhol and his comedy offspring Gilbert and Sullivan (sic) were here to save the artworld from meaning. Better a hundred photo rehashes by some tired old pearly kings desperate to be asked on to the set of Eastenders than real painting.

Yes the world is a better place and our lovely students of the arts have heeded their words and are busily creating artificial nonsensical installations and photo essays with flags and turds in as we speak. Hip hooray barks Moogee we love the new millenium artworld and all who sail in her…..

Pip pip ..snarl…

and a previous snarl from Moogee’s Kennel

July 2, generic 2007

Pearly King

Mr. James who a little more erudite than your average YBA has written a fetching piece on Mr.Hirst’s latest tat at..

 Clive James on that skull

 

Damien Hirst – Diamond Encrusted Skull – First Version

Moogee’s reply..

Cracking riposte Mr. James.

Mr. Hirst is the Barnum of our age and whilst not being a bad lad and kind to his mum he does produce some silly artworks. Even sillier is the stage-managed way he hoovers up press via his agent. Fair play in the kingdom of the skull the one-studded man is a chav. My friendly art dog has seen through the media fog for many a day mainly because being a dog he cannot converse with Mr. Hirst in case he rips him in two and drops him in a tank.

Unfair treatment of a critic but that the way life is these days. Would it be unwise if Moogee suggested that if current proportion of illegal diamonds on market as high as suggested that more than a couple of sparklers on this Pearly King’s bonce are dodgy anyway?

More woofism (turn right at post-modernism, ignore blankism and toss Moogee a bone)

Grrrrr

 

Published by

Shaun Belcher

Contemporary art critic

One thought on “Arts Hub Column August”

  1. Interesting response from James, but he rather shoots himself in the foot by raising Botticelli as a comparison, who in his day was, erm, every bit as guilty as Hirst at producing fashionable conversation pieces for the super-rich of his times. Hirst’s skull is a ‘good’ work of art in the same way that Cellini’s OTT salt cellar is, or the kind of thing made during the Baroque & Mannerist eras, so not something that fits a Modern or Romantic reading. As for the dig about who put the diamonds on, has James heard of
    the Renaissance studio system? Or grasped that most of the paint he’s looking at in the National Gallery was probably applied first by assistants, then replaced by skilled restorers and conservators rather than smeared from the brushes of Titian or Rubens themselves? I suspect he does, but is being cheekily rhetorical, and knows perfectly well that the skull is really no different to the work he’s measuring it against… Which may be why I think it’s an interesting piece, and not merely a miraculous one from Hirst, whose work generally almost never achieves a passage of one of my personal ‘artwork tests’ – if it’s dug up by archaeologists who have zero context for it, will it be perceived as art, and will its meaning be comprehensible. Despite not being much of a Hirst fan by and large, the skull passes on both criteria with flying colours. I’d dare to suggest that he’s not all that different to Hockney, either, who doesn’t seem an especially good painter to me, made his name purveying vacuous fashionable images of wealthy Californians and 70s scenesters and now strives after an Old Master status he can’t quite cut. Gawd bless ’em, but the closer you look, the more you realise they’re peas in a pod, aren’t they?

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