Damien Hirst, the poster-boy of the YBA (Young British Artist) group rose to fame twenty five years ago thanks to a contemporary art market full of cash and glory-seeking collectors dying to assosiate themselves with living gods of the art world.
His career is controversial but all that pales in comparison to the most recent notch in his gunslinger's belt of high-noon shoot-outs.
Ten years in the making, which almost perfectly coincides with Hirst's virtual disappearance from the art world after his 'revolutionary' sale of his own works at his own Sotheby auction and his pissing-off all the major dealer honchos in the process, his new show in Venice appears to be on the surface just as revolutionary.
But regrettably for him, and probably the entire contemporary art market, it ain't. Revolutions without manifesto or a cause célèbre are as pointless as making up a story to simulate the truth and then immediately telling everyone what a fake and sham the story actually is.
This is what Hirst has done. But instead of receiving universal distain and critique from the art press at least half of the reviews I have read gush with awe and praise.
Talk of the emperor's new clothes, Hirst has enrobed himself in cling-wrap and paraded his privates and pimpled butt for all to see. But lucky for him it seems half the art world will go along with the charade because it is too desperate to make kings from those who are nothing but pawns.
Calling Hirst's "Treasure from the Wreck of the Unbelievable", the pompous title of the Venice exhibition, kitsch glorifies the nonsense he spent 10 years and allegedly 50 million dollars producing, not to mention the millions French billionaire art collector and showman François Pinault shelled out to stage this publicity stunt cum art show.
Hirst is feeding off today's ever sickening trend of confusing spectacle with art, not to mention mistaking smoke with fire.
There's alot of smoke under Hirst, and Pinault's, hat -- money buys press -- but how much brain power, the fire that lights the candles of Art?
Any truthful observer would have to say none, and beyond all the shock and awe Hirst's folly will create the important underlying fact remains his supposed imaginings of ancient Gods, Goddesses, treasure and trash are nothing but well-crafted copies devoid of anything past an art valueless Jeff Koon's Mickey Mouse holding hands with Goofy.