For the Love of God

This disturbs me profoundly. Not the artwork itself – I actually think a diamond-encrusted skull looks rather cool, if not particularly pretty – I don’t think I’d allow it house space (the insurance would be a killer, for one thing). What disturbs me is that Hirst says in this video that the piece is meant to be a ‘celebration against death’. How is sticking jewels on bone a celebration against death? A celebration of death, maybe. A glorification of death, perhaps. But if he wanted to celebrate against death, wouldn’t it make more sense to create something living out of death? Say, plant a fantastic garden over someone’s grave. Or, let’s see, how about using all that money to dig wells in poor villages in drought-stricken places? I’m not normally a ‘this ointment could have been sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor’ person – I believe that we should celebrate and celebrate richly – but I’m thinking that in this case Judas had a point, particularly given the stated purpose of the artwork. I’m reassured that at least the diamonds in question haven’t funded any arms sales or militias by their purchase. That would have been quite counterproductive.