Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Damien Hirst’s sculpture, installed at the Lever House

While I definitely agree with Jerry Saltz’s opinions of the recent paintings “by” Damien Hirst, (see the article “The Emperor’s New Paintings”) I can’t agree with his take on the sculpture recently installed at the Lever House:

this from Jerry Saltz, published in the Village Voice, 4/5/05:

Worse than the paintings because it's permanent—not to mention marring the entrance to the beautiful Lever House on Park Avenue—is Hirst's hideous Virgin Mother, a 35-foot bronze eyesore of a naked pregnant woman with a cutaway view of her womb. ...Virgin Mother should be removed straightaway and those responsible for placing it here should be fired or whatever is done with reckless, imbecilic billionaires.

Yes, the Lever House is beautiful, especially in light of the recent renovation but this provocative sculpture is a perfect compliment to the pious modernism evoked and evinced by this building. I hate to say how utterly innocuous are the stone sculptures of Isamu Noguchi next to this brash bronze monstrosity. I love the irreverent insouciance of this strident Virgin Mother who literally bares all with such cosmopolitan élan and verve. I can’t explain why I love it (I know I’m supposed to like the Noguchi sculptures) but I took some people to look at the sculpture in the pouring rain and we all felt a similar sense of awe. Damien Hirst, after all is a sculptor first and foremost.

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