Damien Hirst, Stupid Comments and Artistic Integrity

“What a prick.” was my first thought when I was scrolling down Facebook and came across an article in The Guardian with the headline ‘Damien Hirst: I still believe art is more powerful than money’. My second thought was more or less similar. However, what you or I think of this artist/nature thief/platinum grade taxidermist/naive child, let’s just expand on his statement a little further. Art is more powerful than money.

So what does this mean? Maybe we could fight the bankers and the government with a massive painting or perhaps all of Damien Hirsts animals in formaldehyde will come alive in a Jumanjiesque rampage to the financial district, ending the fiscal tyranny we currently suffer in a hail of paint-sprinkled claws. Maybe there could be a stare out competition between the Mona Lisa and the IMF. Perhaps someone will see one of Tracy Emins turds and think “I’ve had enough of all this poverty.”

"RUN! Get those evil bankers!! ROOOOAAAAARRRR!!!!

"RUN! Get those evil bankers!! ROOOOAAAAARRRR!!!!

Despite my jokes above about Hirst stealing the surplus value of nature, stuffing it and flicking some paint onto it, I have to admit he is an important artist. I actually really like installation art and believe art should be whatever an artist wants it to be. Hirsts art itself deals with mortality, human revulsion and nature. For me, and I think this is deliberate in Hirsts part, it’s what happens to his art once it is made and the monetary conversations and therefore social and power relations that govern it that he has allowed to become one of the main themes in his work. But then he ignores this with a silly sentence.

Basically, he’s taking the piss. Not out of us but the rich and the media. He contradicts the headline statement twice in the Guardian article, whining that “rebellion doesn’t really matter to the market.” and that it’s “hard to see the art for the dollar signs”. This sort of moaning doesn’t really add up when you consider his 2007 £50 million valued work ‘For The Love Of God’, an artefact in which it’s hard to see the platinum cast human skull for the 8,601 flawless diamonds. It’s as clear as day or a dead shark behind some glass that he pretty much knows what he’s doing. The thing is, I don’t really care in any kind of positive way because it changes precisely nothing.

"I'm going to make all the bad things go away."

"I'm going to make all the bad things go away."

I mean, how many times over could the IMF buy the Mona Lisa for the love of God? Or ‘For The Love Of God?’ for the love of God? I tried to ask them but they were too busy slapping Greece in the face. What would the Pope have said to Michaelangelo if he’d announced a new style of post-revolutionary art called constructivism and he was going to cover the Sistine Chapel ceiling with large flat abstract shapes, with the image of Adam trying to reach God replaced by a red square trying to fit into a round sky blue hole? It’s ever so slightly possible he may have been murdered. It would have been like Stalinism all over again.

More importantly, what if he’d presented Pope Julius II with the corpse of a dead pig, with half-dead flies on it congealed with yellow paint? Unfortunately, Michaelangelo wouldn’t have had post modernism on his side but he was however, in a pretty similar position to us. Despite what our slowly dying post modern culture might tell us, class society is still here containing the class antagonisms that come with it just as it was then. Without the Pope and wealthy benefactors, one of the greatest human beings in history would be unheard of and therefore, not one of the greatest human beings who ever lived.

Market-led capitalism may offer artists more popes but the fundamental relationship remains the same. The ‘working class lad made good’ Damien Hirst laughing at Sothebys or the clueless rich morons who buy his or any other fashionable artists work might raise a smirk but as a (political?) point all it betrays is an incestuous, post modern irony inverted so much it becomes myopic, obvious and staring into it’s own intestines. Kitsch as a response to a kitsch, commodity fetishist culture. Becoming richer through laughing at the rich doesn’t really work. It just makes you a richer hypocrite. All integrity is gone and the rich still win, gaining credence with peers or future profits from your work.

How can artistic integrity be maintained over time by a working class artist in a class society when their works becomes fetishized by the wealthy? Maybe the only response of that individual is to laugh at them and talk bollocks.

Material conditions stump everything. I studied art for four years yet I know more about television, film and music not only because I love the mediums but because material conditions better allowed for this than weekend trips to Florence, New York, Berlin or even London. Most of the art I’ve ‘seen’ has been on the pages of books. Let’s say I become successful and through selling art I’m able to travel to these places. It would be the commodification of the art that would allow me to do this, not the art itself. How many primitive cave painters travelled the globe because they painted some deer on a cave wall?

With me knowing more about music, I’ll talk about the Britpop band Oasis’ musical journey from their debut album ‘Definitely Maybe’ to their third album ‘Be Here Now’ . This working class band were discovered in a Glasgow club with a capacity of 200, playing songs about there being ‘nothing worth working for’ and wanting to live forever. A few success laden years later, they showcased some of their songs from ‘Be Here Now’, a cocaine bloated extravagant mess of an album at Knebworth over two nights, playing infront of 250000 people. While Sir Paul McCartney watched from the VIP stage, most fans could barely see the stage it was so far away. Art measured in rungs and metres from the top down, a crass disneyfied journey from pauper to prince, the initial basis of their art no longer able to be seen with the naked eye. Kurt Cobains suicide because of the pressure he felt to compromise started at broadly the same place as this story. Maybe he should have written an album called ‘Shark Sandwich’ instead and laughed maniacally at the record company executives who had put him where he was.

In terms of artistic integrity, the punk band Crass come to mind. April’s Word Magazine in an article about authenticity wrote about them:

“If authenticity is measured by a groups autonomy and oneness with their audience, Crass were utmost. They were self managed and ran their own label, selling in excess of a million records. Between 1977 and 1984 they played more than 350 shows, often in out of they way places. Every concert was a benefit, usually for a local cause. They roadied for themselves and never onced stayed in a hotel, sleeping instead at the venue, at followers homes, squats or in their van.”

For Crass, “when people are paid to do something, resentment finally sets in.”. Maybe the amount doesn’t matter. I suspect it does. Damien Hirst, with his £200 million, it seems, through his posturing about money and art, certainly resents something. This doesn’t change the flippancy and facetiousness of the statement (and possibly his art) that caused me to write this blog.

In answer to Hirsts assertion that art is more powerful than money, I challenge him to put the 150 plus assistants he has on a year long ‘workfare’ scheme, to show them the real incentive of working for someone who makes such powerful art. Would he? I don’t think so.

This is the overall point about the production of art in class society, or indeed being successful at creating anything that’s supposed to be beyond mere commodification. You need the correct material conditions to be successful and the right capitalist to become aware of you. Then if you are successful, it brings you into the arms and indeed the ranks of this commodifying class (this is true in all arenas of life), even if you’re laughing right into their noses in an ironic, I-love-you-really kind of way. We shouldn’t laugh right up their noses. They’re too powerful to care. We should break their noses and their system and see art flourish for it.

Is it too much too ask for a situation in which artists can create what they want without the interference of an outside influence, whether that be a rich benefactor or a powerful state/body? Despite this having been historically too much to ask up to now, I think all great art has been made despite class society and that most terrible or misguided art has been created because of it.

OWEN SMITH REMINDS US ALL OF CORNETTOS IN FREEZER

JS95958635

According to Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith, the Cornetto you found hidden at the bottom of your freezer was down to him. Yesterday afternoon, at one of his small gatherings he announced his policies, one of which was quite literally “free ice cream”.

Despite remembering that drunken trip to Farmfoods, the nation was beseeched by Smith, to just consider, for one second, if not till the deadline for voting, that your recently discovered box of strawberry flavour Cornettos came from elsewhere. “Ta-dah!, he wriggled, That was me that was!”

Smith then went on to tell reporters that he was “normal”, “not a lesbian” and “every bit as radical as Jeremy Corbyn, who let us remember, killed Jesus. But I didn’t.”.

Moving on swiftly, Smith went on to complain that the leader of the Labour Party was in the leadership election at all.

“I mean,, why should he be? See that feeling you get when the delicious strawberry texture melts on your tongue and the little pecan nuts gently tingle on the back of your throat? Not Corbyn. When the cone breaks away on your lips and crunches into your mouth? Not Corbyn. When you get to the bottom and the small chocolate bit makes you all thirsty again? Thirsty for….no wait….not that……has anyone noticed how Cornets are a bit smaller than they used to be? No! Come back plebs! Haven;t finished yet!

DEED POLL OFFICE UNILATERALLY ADDS QUOTATION MARKS TO LAST NAME OF SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY HILLARY “BENN”

The Deed Poll Office in London has unilaterally added quotation marks to the last name of the shadow foreign secretary.

Speaking to us from underneath a large oil painting of Tony Benn, civil servant Barbara Tomlinson explained how they took the decision.

“We couldn’t bear Hillary “Benn”’s relentless drive for war, when his father Tony Benn said “If you can find the money to kill people, you can find the money to help people.”

“I mean where was he at the dinner table when he was a child? Was he too busy to listen to his own Dad? He really should have opened his fucking ears.”

Asked how someone’s name could be changed without their permission, Barbara replied:

“We decided that as he’s not asking the people he wants to bomb to death for permission to bomb them to death, that we would find the necessary loopholes. Plus it only cost about £15.”

Hillary “Benn” was unavailable for comment.

‘JEREMY CORBYN KILLED JESUS’ CLAIMS TONY BLAIR

Tony Blair has suggested that the crucifixion of Christ was all down to Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

In his most recent guest column for The Daily Telegraph, he laid out in detail how Corbyn had orchestrated the whole thing by infiltrating the establishment of the time.

“That’s what infiltrators do. They kill Jesus. And if they killed our Lord and saviour, what will they do to my party?”

In the article, the former prime minister also outlined that further to the execution of God, Jeremy Corbyn was also anti-austerity, loved migrants and worst of all, liked to stop wars.

“If only Andy Burnham had been there to stop him. He would have done…..something.”

Jeremy Corbyn was unavailable for comment as he was doing a packed out tour of the country.

Nick Clegg Still Talking Despite General Concept of Futility

Nick Clegg is still proffering his opinions openly and with no sense of futility, embarrassment or shame, say the public.

Despite having lied to all of us, he still deems it appropriate to even open his mouth.

“I can’t find a job, have a massive student debt yet I’m still living in a world where Nick Clegg feels that using his vocal chords for communication purposes is somehow legitimate .”

said Liz, a former student from Derby.

“He’s still…..there. Talking.”

Scientists would like to examine the Lib Dem leader’s brain to study how, despite everything, the neural pathways that deal with him addressing anyone ever again, remain open.

“It’s a complete mystery.”, said Dr Malcolm, lecturer in Neurological Linguistics at MIT.

“They should completely shut down if they have a conscience.”

Max Clifford offered him some advice.

“He should cover his face so that people think they are listening to someone who is afraid to reveal their identity. They would trust him more. But then again, they wouldn’t know it was him. ”

Clegg was still saying things at the time of writing.

Food Bank Photo-op

The murderer is opening the funeral

Of his own victims

Look at the warmth in his smile

Into the kindness behind his eyes

The flash of his suit

Did the photographer ask him to say

Cheese

Or Tins

Or Super-noodles?

Or non-perishables?

Would that be too close to the bone?

What colour was the ribbon?

Did people clap at it’s cutting?

Did the murderer

Feel

A ghostly pat

On his back

As he went inside to see

The seeds

Of his destruction?

What was his soul telling him

As he stood next to the elderly volunteers?

Does he have one?

Did he look them in the face?

Was his face looked into by

Them?

Did the air bend?

Did the shelves swoon and stretch?

Did the grotesque spread

It’s crooked black wings

In between the flashes?

Was this witnessed?

His maggot teeth?

His wriggling claws?

His flaming tonsils?

The latent reek of mould descending?

Did the elderly women miss it?

Did the photographer capture the moment?

Would he spill the beans?

Did the slime seats of Westminster

Appear behind the minister

In negative apparition?

The vile brethren mass around him

Laughing?

Cooking with glee?

Rocking back and forth in ecstacy

At what they had done

And what they were doing

And could do?

And did the politician shake the hands

Of these poor people

As soon as the photographer had lifted his finger off the button?

Had he left as soon as he had come

In a car with blacked out windows

And disappeared

Into his night

To do what it is

He does?

Tony Blair Wins No Awards At Awards

Tony Blair won no awards at an awards ceremony in London last night. It has been reported that this may be a sign that things are ‘moving in the right direction’.

A rival awards ceremony organiser said

“It’s becoming more clear in the awards ceremony community, that Tony Blair is not welcome at awards. Tony Blair not winning an award last night is a promising step forward. Once people stop inviting him along then we can start thinking about arresting him for war crimes.”

BLAIR

The award, won by Captain Pugwash was accepted gracefully by the pirate. Pugwash stated this morning

“I watched it when I got home. You could see Tony Blair trying to keep smiling when he didn’t get the award but I could see acid dribbling out of his mouth. I actually think he’s a xenomorph.”

Master Bates, who was present with the captain at the ceremony was proud of his coworker’s achievements but was less forgiving of Blair’s presence.

“Who the fuck would invite Tony Blair to fucking anything? And I’m a cartoon pirate.”

No one is sure when and if the former prime minister will again be invited to an awards ceremony.

90s act Deep Blue Something to re-release ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ as ‘Cannibal Holocaust’

DBS90’s one hit wonder act Deep Blue Something have decided to re-release a new version of their 1995 song ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ as ‘Cannibal Holocaust’.

The decision came when the singer admitted that he and his then girlfriend had reportedly not “both kinda liked” ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ but had in fact “both kinda liked” the more bloody 1980s gore festival ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, the discovery of which saved their relationship.

“Yeah we both kinda liked it.” confessed the singer.

“We stayed together for about six months after that.”

The band penned ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ in 1992.

“The first time we played it, we realised that we had created a new genre, a crunching, deep, new vibration the world was barely ready for. But the suits wouldn’t release it. That’s record companies for you.”

The band then converted from their ground breaking new sound ‘mulchcore’ to a new sound more suited to driving to Safeway to. They began to wear denim on denim and cut their hair, spending much of their career playing their music on stools, despite the fact they were young men.

However, the band say they are back with a vengeance.

“We’re ready to unleash mulch-core unto the world. The forces of darkness have commanded us.”