Tuesday, September 7, 2010

As is typical, the Stuckists hate on Hirst

So, I read today, here:

that Charles Thompson, the rather unremarkable co-founder of the Stuckist movement, is accusing Hirst of stealing some of his ideas. (For perspective, one of the other founders is Billy Childish, former beau of Tracey Emin - looks like we know who got the rough end of the deal there.)

After reading the article, I have to address the elephant in the room: The fact that this allegation is coming from a Stuckist is incredibly ironic. The Stuckist movement is rooted in anti-conceptualism and anti-cleverness.

From their website:
"Against conceptualism, hedonism and the cult of the ego-artist."

(Nevermind, of course, that the act of accusing one of England's most talented and beloved living artists of being a fraud is an intense act of the ego.)

So, why would one of the founders of a movement that was founded on attacks to neo-conceptualists like Hirst and Emin, A. Supposedly develop conceptual works like those of Hirst, and/or B. Admit to this degree of ideologically hypocritical creativity.
It doesn't seem to make sense. I'd give a simple, though not polished answer, that Thompson may just be jealous.

I'm not saying Hirst is infallible, but it is hard to take the claims seriously. However, even if there is some validity to the claims, the situation brings up an old statement, "There's no such thing as a cliche."
If one digs deep enough, similarities will abound between the primary chosen work and works that preceded it. This is understood. To say that it is all cliched or acts of plagiarism is a reductio ad absurdum that only distracts unnecessarily from the act of appreciating the work for what it is, its zeitgeist, and who it came from, not putting it up against a canon of all works ever created.

The writer makes a good point about this here:
"Less interesting is the claim that Hirst's famous 1991 piece "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" was inspired by a stuffed shark that hung on the wall of an electrical supply store. Last we checked, there was no law against locating one’s muse in a stuffed fishing trophy."

and here:

Many of their pieces do bear an uncanny resemblance, such as LeKay’s 1993 skulls covered in crystals (titled "Spiritus Callidus," one moniker for the devil) and Hirst’s 2007 "For the Love of God," a skull covered in diamonds. (Though, of course, embellishing skulls with precious materials is an ancient practice predating both men by centuries.)

I'll be revisiting this story some more.

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I love to read about linguistics, behavioral economics, theory and philosophy. I listen to music some might call outdated, write satirical and high testosterone plays, consume too much caffeine and ruthlessly defend modern and contemporary art.