Wednesday, November 21

Damien Hirst In and Out of Love

I have heard about Damien Hirst's exhibit In and Out of Love, where you could meander around with thousands of live butterflies who were just minding their own business and chomping on some fruit that was laid out in bowls for them. The only reason I heard that this exhibit existed though was because news got out that 9,000 - that's nine thousand - butterflies died for the sake of this exhibit, which I find to be sort of absurd.

In and Out of Love exhibit, 2012

No, the butterflies were not an endangered species.

Yes, their life was cut short: from a couple of months to a couple of days.

To me, using butterflies for their beauty and their ethereal qualities to the point that you, in a way, steal the life out of them and then just go collect more is like finding a unicorn and letting it die in a cage just so people can enjoy it for a little while, and your own life span (or for an artist, time in the spot light) can be increased.

I know, I sound a bit cynical.

Worse yet? The way I interpret such installations is that they're pure shock value. Don't get me wrong, I think shock value can be a wonderful thing, but I don't like when I feel like that might be all the artist has going for them. 

Or maybe he was looking to bring some attention and hype to his early butterfly paintings? That would be an intelligent move on his part.

In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays), 1991
I guess we wouldn't care if it was 9,000 mosquitos killed, so I'm not so sure, is it okay to kill so much for the sake of art, let alone an impermanent art piece?


LittleQuack said...

This exhibit with mosquitoes instead of butterflies would be just as sickening and backwards if you ask me. Though you couldn't pay me to go to it ;)

Nikki Nasvytis said...

Oh definitely! There was one bug related art piece that I liked, a co-op student for my high school art class made it. A nasty beehive had been sprayed, and instead of throwing all the bugs and the hive out, he carefully ran wire/fishing line through them all, to make it look like they were all flying around the hive, then hung it in the corner of a little cottage gallery.