The works focussed on crows and rather fetching skulls (see picture above). But before you get excited, there was no formaldehyde, diamonds and precious metals in the picture. In keeping with the recession, Hirst has scaled down his works to mere paint on canvas. (Though he couldn’t resist pasting real crow feathers on to the paintings).
Interestingly, the exhibition opened on Tuesday, November 24. The very next day BBC Four broadcasted an investigative documentary The Great Contemporary Art Bubble by art critic Ben Lewis. The documentary traced the unprecedented rise in the prices of contemporary art in the last decade, and particularly in 2007-08, examining how much of it was mere speculation. Hirst and his patron gallery White Cube figured rather prominently in Lewis’ firing line.
The documentary is worth viewing because it tries to examine the role of the artist-gallery-auction house nexus in raising and maintaining the prices of contemporary art works, and why the general public should care about it.
According to Lewis, money matters in the art world – it really matters, and don’t let Hirst tell you otherwise.
The documentary can be viewed for another five days on the BBC website. Hirst’s crows and skulls that don’t matter will be on view till January 24 at the White Cube gallery.