Damien hirst at the MFA, boston

Essay by pogobotoCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2005

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It appears these past few months the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has been more concerned with high profile exhibits, rather than showing art. The Ralph Lauren car collection has undeniable mass appeal, and it is clear that this is partially the reason for it being on display. The same goes for the "Rockwell and the Red Socks" exhibit that conveniently opened with the beginning of baseball season for the World Series champs. The motivation for the Damien Hirst show, "A selection of works by Damien Hirst from Various Collections", however, is less apparent. It seems the MFA wanted someone who has a high-status in the art world, and who better than the most famous living British artist Damien Hirst. Although, attached with the name Damien Hirst-- undoubtedly comes controversy.

The MFA boasts Hirst's celebrity artist profile in the write-up about the show, calling him one of "the most influential living artists".

The text, which describes his career since the 90's, appears in the brochure and also in the entry way of the Foster gallery where most of his work is displayed. In addition, accompanying all his pieces are short explanations with quotes directly from the artist. For the people who are unfamiliar with Hirst's work, the wall labels serve to instruct and "fill in" the viewer. However, in an attempt to do this, the wall labels end up reducing the art to single and easy-to-grasp concepts such as death or beauty. Due to the extremely instructional nature of the labels, which explicitly explain the piece and artist's "intention", there is little room for the viewer to construct their own opinions.

What adds to the instructive nature of the text is the sense that it is defending the work and the artist himself. Essentially the work is...