Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Robert Hughes and the Mona Lisa Curse

In The Mona Lisa Curse, Hughes traces the pernicious rise of the commercial art market back to 1963, when Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous portrait was exhibited in New York. The Mona Lisa, says Hughes, was treated “as thought it were a film star. People came not to look at it, but to say that they’d seen it.”


At Sotheby’s on Tuesday an anonymous bidder bought a bull in a tank of formaldehyde for £10.3million. The world’s most expensive cut of beef was cooked up, inevitably, by the artist Damien Hirst, whose “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” sale of 223 new works fetched £111.5million, a record for an auction dedicated to one artist. The illustrious Australian art critic Robert Hughes, however, isn’t buying the hype.

This is partly because Hughes – who presented The Mona Lisa Curse, a one-off polemic broadcast on British TV – considers Hirst’s work flashy and fatuous. Indeed he has described one of the British artist’s sharks in formaldehyde as “the world’s most overrated marine organism”.

But Hughes’s central beef with Hirst’s headline-grabbing success is that it illustrates how today’s mercenary art market has made the price of a work of art more significant than its meaning. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3560841/The-Mona-Lisa-Curse.html


Zoomie said...

Same phenomenon with old wines - it's not the wine, it's the cachet and the chance to make a quick buck.

Kathy Hodge said...

Thanks for that, I've watched the first two parts and am hoping the rest of it will help me survive today in my cubicle!

namastenancy said...

I am always happy to help with surviving the curse of the cubicle. I am a cubicle survivor myself so I know how difficult it can be! Besides Robert Hugues is not only entertaining, he's right on the money. I respect his opinions and admire his writing which is more than I can say for a lot of other art critics.