The Tate’s retrospective of Damien Hirst‘s work is a curious exhibition. The two things that impressed me most about it were 1) the scale of some of the works – many of the pieces really need to be seen in a gallery to be fully appreciated; and 2) how some of his most famous works still have the power to shock and amaze.
As Hirst has returned time and again over his career to similar themes and techniques – death, cigarettes, pills, spot paintings – the exhibition is repetitive and so lessens the impact of some of his best work. The first medicine cabinet was an interesting concept well executed. But the exhibition has dozens, plus a whole room for Pharmacy. Mother and Child divided remains the finest of the formaldehyde works, though I also have to admit a fondness for ’Isolated Elements Swimming in the Same Direction for the Purpose of Understanding’. Many of the others though feel unnecessary.
It is a case of diminishing returns with many of Hirst’s concepts, original at first but then overdone and tiring. I would not have missed any of the cigarette butts works. Nor am I that bothered for most of the spot paintings, though some, especially Iodomethane 13c, are impressive in size and have a hypnotic effect. Any of the pill cabinets taken is isolation are lovely but once again there are too many of them.
The butterfly pieces are interesting. They grow from early, sparse pieces to beautiful and intricate stain glass like works.
I left the exhibition feeling that Hirst had perhaps done enough in his early works to earn his reputation as one of the UK’s key artists but that that reputation has been tarnished over recent years when his work seemed to lose direction and become self-parody. I hope that he will find the creativity to be fresh and challenging once more.
With the Paralympics due to start this week below is a look back at the Olympics through some of the best of the hundreds of fantastic photographs taken during an amazing couple of weeks. The atmosphere in London over these two weeks was quite incredible. The performance of TeamGB only added to that. It was a time to be proud to be British and to be proud of our sportsmen and women. But it was also a time to amaze at and be inspired by the dedication, skill and professionalism of athletes from all around the world who were mostly 100% committed yet gracious in both victory and defeat.
John Stillwell/Getty Images
AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images
Ian Walton / Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Associated Press
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Photos have been taken from a variety of sources including The Big Picture, Atlantic In Focus and The New York Times. All three have amazing collections of photos, especially The New York Times, and I recommend that readers take the time to explore.
Davy Jones street photography on the streets of London makes amazing use of colour and light.
Nigel Bennett, in his own words, operates “in the grey area between documentary and fiction, history and myth, honesty and artifice..”
I like the humour and playfulness in the work of Canadian artist Michel De Broin.
Take some time to look at the website where there is a lot more work, some good videos, and descriptions of the projects.
There is a good interview with him on We Make Money Not Art
The great Australian writer and art critic Robert Hughes passed away on 6 August 2012, age 74.
Hughes has been a major influence on how I view and think about art. This blog takes its name from a Hughes line in his documentary “The New Shock of the New”.
He has given us some important books, and arguably the most important TV series, on art. He will greatly missed.
Obituary in The Guardian
Nik Daum‘s portfolio contains some of the most impressive photography I have seen for some time. The photos selected below give an idea but they are much better viewed on his own website.
Japanese photographer Takeshi Suga
Check out also his great music photographs – he worked for the NME for a while whilst living in Glasgow.
Also lots to see on his Flickr page