Monday, December 12, 2011
Damien Hirst, always controversial, and arguably artistic, made a splash (yes, pun intended) when he created his most notorious work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living in 1991. The work consists of a tiger shark in a tank of formaldehyde solution and asks us to confront our fears of death. Whether or not it is art has been a debate since its creation; but, more recently a few years ago it re-opened the age old debate of originality and authenticity as well when the shark had to be replaced. The shark was purchased by hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen and since it was degrading in quality, i.e. disintegrating, it had to be replaced by another shark (2006).
One of the major issues we seem to have in the history of art is whether or not a work is authentic if it is not made solely by the hand of the one artist on the label (see "The Renaissance" for thousands of people who worked under one name, yes you should be detecting sarcasm), or if it's a replica/replacement then is it as valuable as the "original?" Below is a video with the curator of Contemporary Art, Gary Tinterow, at the Met in NY discussing these issues, when Mr. Hirst's work was exhibited after the replacement shark was put in its new home (2007-2010 for the exhibition).
May inspiration and creativity be with you!