Saturday, March 12, 2005

DAMIEN HIRST : The Elusive Truth

I stopped by the Gagosian Gallery today to see the latest paintings by Damien Hirst. So did a lot of other people. Many were the people who felt compelled to see what this latest enfant terrible had wrought.
I doubt that the paintings were entirely by his hand and I suspect that there was a lot of help by the way of mechanical aids of some sort: projecting images onto the canvas in order to trace the image and the use of photographs as source material as well. Such is the state of painting today. This is not to say that the images were devoid of interest, it is just that they were so generic in feel and vapid in touch that they lacked any individuality (Warhol killed that, didn’t he?).
The images of pharmaceuticals lined up in neat rows on shelves reminded me of the paintings of Wayne Thiebald as the pills looked as delicious as the pies and cakes. Again, not much new here. The truth be told, Damian Hirst had some tremendously shocking and exciting installations (the Shark in formaldehyde being a personal favorite) but too may of his paintings lack something, a soul if you will. Check out the images on the Gagosian gallery web site, they look better as photographs on the web than in real life. Art in the age of mechanical reproduction indeed.

DAMIEN HIRST : The Elusive Truth
Mar 11 - Apr 23, 2005
Gagosian Gallery
555 WEST 24th STREET
TEL 212 741 1111

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