Hirst's works are fantastic (truly), decadent (sine qua non), fascinating (hypnotic, even), and illative of a remorseless, pointed and wicked intellect. His absorption with death and decadence - manifested by choice of subject and use of materials, constant playfully bright schemes, that make light of dark ideas that are themselves excessive, in concept and execution, and consequential work - become visual puns, fodder for common humor. Mentored by Charles Saatchi, the art collector's collector (a god, in his own art world right, maybe), Hirst's future, you might say, was as assured as if he'd been born with a silver spoon (just look at that chart, above).
So why are we writing about this artist? Yes, his concepts are bizarre, his works are many things to many people, but most importantly, for the obviously privileged and rarefied few who fell in step to the Sotheby's hammer on 16 September, Hirst's works are immensely, and profitably, collectible!
(Image: Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1992. Tiger shark, glass, steel, 5% formaldehyde solution; 213 x 518 cm., Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)
How does video relate to sculpture? Yes, well, buckle-up, here's today's wikipedia definition for sculpture: three-dimensional artwork created by shaping hard or plastic material, commonly stone (either rock or marble), metal, or wood. Some sculptures are created directly by carving; others are assembled, built up and fired, welded, molded, or cast. A person who creates sculptures is called a sculptor. Because sculpture involves the use of materials that can be moulded or modulated, it is considered one of the plastic arts. The majority of public art is sculpture. The definition goes on to describe types of sculpture:
- Free-standing sculpture, sculpture that is surrounded on all sides, except the base, by space. It is also known as sculpture "in the round", and is meant to be viewed from any angle. (image, right, Thomas Scoon, Companions, 2008. Cast glass + granite)
- Relief - the sculpture is still attached to a background; types are bas-relief, alto-relievo, and sunken-relief
- Site-specific art
- Kinetic sculpture - involves aspects of physical motion
- Statue - representationalist sculpture depicting a specific entity, usually a person, event, animal or object
- Stacked art - a form of sculpture formed by assembling objects and 'stacking' them.
Many sculptors seek new ways and materials to make art. Jim Gary used stained glass and automobile parts, tools, machine parts, and hardware. One of Pablo Picasso's most famous sculptures included bicycle parts. Alexander Calder and other modernists made spectacular use of painted steel. Since the 1960s, acrylics and other plastics have been used as well. Andy Goldsworthy makes his unusually ephemeral sculptures from almost entirely natural materials in natural settings. Some sculpture, such as ice sculpture, sand sculpture, and gas sculpture, is deliberately short-lived. (image, right, Mark Abildgaard, Twister, 2008, detail. Cast + sandblasted glass, stainless steel)
Sculptors often build small preliminary works called maquettes of ephemeral materials such as plaster of Paris, wax, clay, or plasticine, as Alfred Gilbert did for 'Eros' at Piccadilly Circus, London. In Retroarchaeology, these materials are generally the end product.
In contemporary terms, modern sculpture forms are now practiced outdoors, and often in full view of spectators, thus giving them kinship to performance art in the eyes of some. Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. It's popular in China, Japan, Canada, Sweden, and Russia. Ice sculptures feature decoratively in some cuisines, especially in Asia. Kinetic sculptures are sculptures that are designed to move, which include Mobiles. Snow sculptures are usually carved out of a single block of snow about 6 to 15 feet (4.6 m) on each side and weighing about 20 - 30 tons. The snow is densely packed into a form after having been produced by artificial means or collected from the ground after a snowfall. Sound sculptures take the form of indoor sound installations, outdoor installations such as aeolian harps, automatons, or be more or less near conventional musical instruments. Sound sculpture is often site-specific. A Sand castle can be regarded as a sand sculpture. Weightless Sculpture (in outer space) as a concept is created in 1985 by the Dutch artist Martin Sjardijn. Lego brick sculpting involves the use of common Lego bricks to build realistic or artistic sculptures sometimes using hundreds of thousands of bricks. (image, right, Jonathan Russell, Pendants, 2005. Copper, bronze, stainless steel)
Fine art, as defined by Wikipedia, is any art developed primarily for forms, including formaesthetics rather than utility. This type of art is often expressed in a limited number of visual and performing artpainting, sculpture, dance, theatre, architecture and printmaking. Schools, institutes, and other organizations still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the art forms, often implying an association with classic or academic art.
I know, using Wikipedia for a definition seems too easy...the problem is there is so much information out there, and the idea here, is just to give you a general idea. Write to me if you'd like more. By the way, did you hear about the Goya print stolen from Bogota? The stolen artwork was a priceless engraving on view for public exhibition (image above credit: AFP/File photo). It is described as priceless for its extreme rarity.
The Logan Collection is a wonderful surprise. Tasteful (well, I guess that depends on one's taste, huh?), thoughtful and carefully selected, the SFMOMA wrote that the works reveal "a spectrum of individual responses to the utopian dreams that have been driving Chinese society since 1949. Approximately 50 paintings, sculptures, and installations spanning 1988 to 2008 convey a sense of the shadows, masks, and monsters that have haunted the China's collective psyche during its process of modernization. The exhibition offers insight into the post-Tiananmen Square art and cultural scene, and features a diverse range of artists, including Ai Weiwei, Fang Lijun, Li Songsong, Liu Hung, Liu Xiaodong, Yu Youhan, Zhang Huan, and Zhang Xiaogang." The exhibition is ongoing now through Sunday, October 5, 2008.