Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Bad start for RA Summer Exhibition

A worker is dwarfed by The Virgin Mother's feet
From the sublime (Lorenzo Bartolini) to the ridiculous (Damien Hirst). His latest load of codswallop is a 35ft-tall, 13.5-ton pregnant woman cut away to show her foetus and internal organs. This monstrosity was delivered by crane to the Royal Academy of Arts on Monday. It's called "The Virgin Mother"! As Hirst is a Royal Academician, he can dump what he likes on the RA Summer Exhibition (12 June to 20 August), although I don't suppose the RA objects to this cheap publicity stunt, which has made the event more newsworthy than usual. BBC News online is excited about it.
Tips to would-be artists. If you lack talent, build big. Big is eye-catching and awesome. If you want fame, then shock the punters. Entrails are good. Better still, be blasphemous. Why call this statue "The Virgin Mother" unless Hirst wants to offend Christians? Come on, Damien, you're pussy-footing. If you want notoriety, Muslims are the ones to offend. Why not build a 35ft cut-away man, call it "Prophet" and see how many people die to further your infamy?

9 Comments:

At 24/5/06, Blogger Jacoblog said...

What's weird still is that it's made to resemble Degas' ballerina. WHY!?

How come everything that involves a baby becomes 'beautiful' (to quote the BBC news article). Does anyone remember the recent Daniel Edwards' Britney sculpture where she's barefoot and pregnant. Yeaaah....

 
At 24/5/06, Blogger Jacoblog said...

To disagree with your 'if you lack talent, build big', you must be reminded that not all 'big' sculptures were lacking in the talent department. I'm thinking Italian Renaissance...

 
At 24/5/06, Blogger Jacoblog said...

To disagree with your 'if you lack talent, build big', not everything that's created on a large scale is lacking in the talent department. I'm thinking Italian Renaissance...

 
At 24/5/06, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Yup. I'd forgotten Michelangelo's David and a few others. And what about the Egyptian Sphinx? But, as a general rule, I think modern sculpture goes for size, rather than for quality. There used to be a Brit. comedy show called "Never mind the quality, feel the width" which sums up modern art for me.

 
At 24/5/06, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

I couldn't understand that reference to Degas' Ballerina either. I think the writer was just trying to show off and pretend he/she knew something about sculpture. There is absolutely no resemblance between the two, apart from their sex.
Yeah, that beauty thing fogs me too. I've seen a full-frontal live birth (on TV) with my son - 5 at that time and curious about the whole thing, because baby brother was looming - and I said to him afterward "Okay, now you've seen it, what do you think?" He grimaced and replied "Bit messy, isn't it?" Yup. It's as beautiful as modern art. But the mum doesn't see it. Maybe she's in a drug-induced haze staring at a handsome doctor.

 
At 25/5/06, Blogger Jacoblog said...

Actually, the pose is similar to Degas' bronze ballerina sculpture...except Hirst's has one arm/hand on the belly, the other behind the back. The more I see photographs of Hirst sculpture, the more I like it. There are some great photographs of it on flickr.com

 
At 25/5/06, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Sounds a bit suspect to me. I can't imagine any heavily pregnant mum-to-be standing like a ballerina. Usually they're flat-footed and arching their back, complaining about backache or their bladder being kicked by the foetus.
I'll try flickr.com.

 
At 27/5/06, Blogger Greg said...

Damien Hirst is not a Royal Academician...
http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/?lid=79

 
At 27/5/06, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Whoops! Thanks, Greg. Faulty memory on my part; I'd confused Hirst with David Hockney, who's another of my pet hates. (I'm sure he's a lovely fellow, but his work grates on me.)
Feeble excuse: my mistake partly arose from my trying to track down a number of deceased Royal Academicians by trying to wade through the RA's collection. I got a bit suspicious when I came across Donatello! The problem is that you have to look at one of the works (on a separate page) to find out if an artist was an Academician or not. Even worse, the RA database kept locking up and I had to keep escaping it. In the end I gave up and sent the RA an e-mail of complaint, explaining the problems. I'm told the RA website is going to be revamped soon. Whether my moans are taken into account is another matter. It'll probably end up Like the Wallace and Gromit website, which is virtually unusable with my old equipment, but is an award-winner! (Not from Coxsoft Art, it ain't.)
Horrible thought: when Hirst delivered his monstrosity, did it have to go before the Selection Committee? A 2-second flash and thumbs up or down! Maybe the Committe members accepted it because they were afraid it would fall on them if they rejected it too abruptly.

 

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