return to, the home of critical reviews

Damien Hirst "nothing matters" at White Cube Hoxton Square

From:     el art reviews
Category: Art
Date:     09 December 2009
Time:     06:51 AM


So finally I have seen some of DH's much discussed paintings. Pictures of blasted crows, blood 
thickly painted, with white splodged dots and some diagonal lines criss crossing.
Paintings are easy to see. Especially figurative ones. If they're not very good it's immediately 
apparent. Perhaps because we're all used to paintings, we know what we're looking for, and because 
the hand and talent of its controller cannot be hidden unless someone else is employed to make 
them. Painting takes a lot of practice to get right and even then there are very few really good painters 

With other art objects it's quite difficult to know what the criteria for success and failure are, with 
paintings we think we know how to judge them. Also a bad painting just isn't anything much, it looks 
lifeless and far from what we know of great art like Picasso, Goya, Matisse, Rembrandt, Pollock. 
With an installation or an artist designed object, it really is hard to know what a bad one would look 
like, although we know what a badly manufactured one would be. 

Damien Hirst is brave to paint. He exposes himself. Not as a bad artist, but as a bad painter. 
Perhaps if he works hard he will get better. He must have known it might turn out like this, either he is 
full of hubris, or humble, or reckless, or this is all a big joke, and he got an art student to paint them. 
Somehow he has made not very good paintings which make a big point: it's hard to paint well.

return to, the home of critical reviews