Welcome Rock Hill area art students

This blog was created to allow casual conversations about the artwork that you have created and the artists who have influenced you. This will be an excellent place for you to display your art images and share your reactions. We can also share information about upcoming art events.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Damien Hirst

This artist has recently become even more famous due to an 18th Century platinum skull that he has encrusted with diamonds. He set the value at over $100 million. Death seems to be a common theme, including his anatomical statues of a childbearing woman and animals floating in formaldehyde. He has recently purchased a Francis Bacon self-portrait for over $33.1 million. Purchasers of his art include Elton John, George Michael and David Beckham.

I seem be to stuck philisophically, if not ethically, somewhere between Hirst and the Body Worlds exhibit that is taking place in Charlotte. Putting my disdain for both of these types of artworks aside, I still have questions that deal with the fundamental question of what art is. One guy sticks pieces of a cow in formaldehyde, puts it in an art museum, and is termed a genius. Meanwhile hundreds of real humans are plasticized, taken out of a container and put on display in the open. There seems to be a role reversal here. When did art become more scientific than science and when did science start trying to appeal to public?


  1. No reactions? I guess everyone agrees with me.

  2. I disagree.
    It is an indication of how far society has come that science is opening itself to public interest.

    There isn't a whole lot of scientific value to pieces of a cow floating in formaldehyde. Neither is there aestethic value. In my opinion, it is more historical.
    Once something is immersed in formaldehyde, it is useless as tissue or any other kind of sample.
    Things preserved in formaldehyde are simply for viewing and observation.It becomes almost a history of science when this is placed in museum/gallery setting.
    A reflection on past practices.

    Body plastification is a way to preserve the body permanantly, and without the unfortunate possibility of 'fluid leakage'.
    Plasticism is also a more accurate way to observe the human body. It is also more practical than using gallons and gallons of formaldehyde to preserve an entire body.

    Also, you can still see texture and color in this form of preservation.
    In cases of formaldehyde use, the color is often distorted and the after a very long time, and texture can be a little difficult to discern. Plasticized bodies stay pristine, as long as they are dusted and kept in moderate temperature. Now, the human body can be used as a tool to educate the public and students even in non-scientific settings because of the relative ease of transporting the bodies, versus transporting containers of dangerous fluid.

    Science is not 'trying' to appeal to the public. It is succeeding.
    It is a testament to the generally increasing intelligence of society that Body Worlds has been a huge success.
    My worry with the artistic use of parts displayed in formaldehyde would be more about the lack of manipulation. The lack of personal input by the artist, and still the willingness of the art community to accept his 'artistic genius' would pose a bigger question to me than the materials he chose to use.

  3. L, you make some excellent points. Perhaps he is making a statement on how far science has come. My initial reaction was a bit more pessimistic. I'll consider it some more and let you know.