Lost in the wilfully delusional hype over the 1,100 carat diamond-and-platinum skull sculpture that Damien Hirst is purporting to sell for $100 million is the rest of his exhibition at White Cube, his longtime gallery in London.
The show, titled "Beyond Belief," includes a series of paintings of the 2005 caesarean birth of the artist's son Cyrus.
Hirst doesn't paint these himself; he has people for that. It's unclear whether he took the photos at the birth that are the basis for the paintings; at least one, Self Portrait as Surgeon, showing the artist posing in scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck, was probably taken by someone else. Such notions of authenticity and who executed what are irrelevant, of course, in the art world, where Hirst's paintings sell readily for seven figure prices.
But hiring a photographer to document your wife's C-section so that you can turn it into paintings later? That would be something. [Er, never mind. According to the Guardian's critic Jonathan Jones, Hirst took the snaps himself. Jones also describes another painting in the show, called Happy Family, which isn't on the web anywhere yet. It's the classic 3-person, post-partum portrait. So congrats all around to the Hirsts, I guess.]
The exhibition continues at both White Cube locations through July 7th. Viewing of the diamond skull is by timed ticket only.
Damien Hirst: Beyond Belief [whitecube.com]