At dinner this evening one of my partners told the story of last year's Damien Hirst
mockumentary, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable
. It sounded like a great bit of entertainment and I just put it on my Netflix list. I looked at bits from the Venice exhibition when it was trashed by critics and was blown away by the elaborateness of it all.
I like Hirst for how he makes me think about art, which means I appreciate some of the criticism, too. I think Felix Salmon really nailed the Hirst phenomenon in his piece in the New Yorker in December: The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall
I'm a cynic when it comes to the art "market", which for me is a toxic cocktail of conspicuous consumption and opaque, frequently fraudulent behavior. And so I love that Hirst unabashedly creates high quality work and sells it at ultra-luxury prices, even if I don't like the aesthetics of much of it. He's the ultimate direct-to-consumer brand in the segment and he's retained a punk rock attitude to building authentic product. More power to him.