Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hirst's failings

@ Scurvy Tunes: There was a moment in postwar culture when this coldness was mirrored effectively as a critical artist means. That was the bite of dissonant modernism. But compared to Hirst, even Beckett’s stare is a warm and compassionate protest.

There is no protest to Hirst’s coldness. It mirrors, but without a trace of that passion or compassion that leads us back to each other in urgency. This lack of heart, this absent clenched fist of humane outrage at our present impotence, is the missed encounter at the heart of Hirst’s work. It marks not just Hirst’s failings as an individual artist, but the crystallized failure of a whole historical moment.

Needing heart, needing warmth, as well as honesty and truth, from anything that would call itself art, now more than ever, what shall we say to or about skulls that leave us “blinking, dazzled, and bemused” but not warmed or more human?