Damien Hirst’s Memento Mori

Our own Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

Screenhunter_06_sep_14_1600It has been a long time since Andy Warhol started being Andy Warhol. Yet we still fail to appreciate the fact that art is happening largely on his terms. For anyone who was paying attention, Andy Warhol changed the rules for art and ushered in new times. The simplest way to put it is that he made it possible — with the soup cans and the Brillo boxes and the silkscreens of famous movie stars — to make art from the world of consumer goods, the world that we’ve all actually been living in for a few generations now. Some people still don’t want to forgive him for that. But, in the end, all he was doing was telling the truth. His best work is great because of how deeply Warhol was willing to accept that we live in the world that we do. The degree to which he allowed himself to accept this world made him weird, often creepy, and entirely fascinating. He made a kind of freakish experiment with himself, to become so utterly “what we are” that he was more like us than any of us could actually be. That made him uncanny and it is why his art is about truth, even as it glories in the purity of surface and appearance.

There are two artists who best represent the legacy of Andy Warhol and have best exploited the possibilities opened up by what he was doing. One is Jeff Koons. The other is Damien Hirst. People love to despise Koons and Hirst just as much as they loved to despise Warhol. And like Warhol, the two keep making work that asks to be despised. They haven’t any other choice. That is the task before them.

More here.