General Funk (or My Trip to the Tate to See Damien Hirst)
Monday July 16, 2012
On paper I should be having a pretty decent day. I had the day off, my wife was at work, the kids were in school and hell the weather was even fairly decent. But for some reason I was stuck in this general funk that for some reason I couldn’t shake.
So after dropping my son off at school, I began to bummed around my neighborhood in a listless mood. I went for coffee but the twenty people hotdesking from Starbucks put me off. From there I went down to the local library in Crouch End and tried getting some work done on a side project, but the internet was down and the weird 1970’s skewed pentagon shaped desks were doing my head in. I tried to persevere and soldier on, but nothing seem to lift my mood.
After some time I began to worry that I was starting to suffering from some existential midlife crisis. I pondered the problem for awhile before I decided the only thing that could lift my mood was a small adventure. I needed to go see a pickled shark cut in half--I needed to go see the Damien Hirst show at the Tate.
I’ve been meaning to see the Damien Hirst show since it opened at the Tate earlier this year, but my original plans were scuttled when my wife refused to go make it a family day out , nor would she let me take my four year-old son out of fear that he would be ‘traumatized for life.’
Once the idea popped into my head, I abandoned the library with glee and made my way to Finsbury Park to catch the Tube into the city. 30 minutes later I popped out of London’s Underground system like some overeducated hairless mole somewhere in the City and made my way towards the Tate.
I passed St. Paul’s and as the numbers of excited tourist began to double I began to doubt my decision to go to a public art gallery full of tourist. This wasn’t going to help my existential crisis. Maybe that is why Nietzsche never wrote about Disneyland? (not to mention the obvious time issues.)
I crossed the Millennium Bridge and for a few minutes took in the lovely day and the sheer scale of the Tate. Twenty minutes and £15.50 later I crossed through the gates, passed the smiling art attendants--thats a job I don’t envy--and into the exhibit.
Like most art plebs, I knew the name and a little of Damien Hirst’s reputation of doing weird stuff and being well paid for it--namely that cool diamond skull thing he did--but I didn’t really know any of his work.
Some of his stuff was pretty cool. His Thousand Years Project with all of the flies was both bitch’n, unique and a little gross at the same time. It reminded me of living on a farm back in Utah and running across a dead animals when they were well on their way to being chewed to bits.
I thought the butterfly room was genius (In and Out of Love). Talk about impermanence, hundreds of living cocoons stuck to canvases, wow.
However some of it did strike me as late 80's 'oh i just used too much meth and smoked 10,000 packs of cigarettes in the process now what should i do with them all?' (i.e. the giant ashtray with a million cigarette butts) but that just may be my personal taste. Also I was a little disappointed with his pickled Shark. It was a little saggy and not cut in half like Mother and Child Divided--which was pretty cool and my wife was right, it would have given my son nightmares.
Also it would have been really cool to see all of his really expensive stuff but I am sure all of that is safely hidden away in collectors’ homes. After all why would you give it to the Tate?
Overall I liked it and if nothing else Damien Hirst taught me just to try weird shit and see what works.
Oh in case you were wonder it wasn’t an existential crisis after all, apparently I just needed a nap.
Shameless plug for my other blog http://www.fictitiousresearch.com
July 16, 2012 10:00 PM [edited: July 17, 2012 07:48 AM]
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