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Monday, February 27, 2012

Bio-Art: For the Love of God.

Pop quiz: What do you want to happen to your body after you die? Donate your body to science? Be on display in the Body Worlds exhibit? Get cremated and send your ashes over your favorite place in the world? Some of us wouldn't mind having the carbon from our bodies being compacted into diamonds. Then, well, there's immortality in style:


We will never be done with Damien Hirst. That name should ring a few bells; he did an art piece involving a real dead shark suspended in-vitro and a cow with gold-plated hooves. In case you need a refresher, Hirst is the British artist. That shark of his is the mascot for Britart everywhere.The glittering skull made in 2007, however, may soon replace it.

Now, no doubt some of you saw this and immediately thought "crystal skull!" Your mental jump is justified. The skull was indeed inspired by Meso-American art - specifically, the turquoise skulls made by the Aztecs. Go away, conspiracy theorists. Damien Hirst is not stroking your Mayan alien conspiracies. The title "For the Love of God" supposedly comes from something his mother said, not an offering to the dark lord. Satan would probably be pleased, though.



The skull itself is probably from a European between the 1700's and 1800's. It is covered in 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a giant pink one as the centerpiece. The skull was also encased in platinum before being covered in diamonds. There are few sweeter ways to go out than to have your head used as bling, so one must think the colonial American must be pleased from beyond the grave. Hell, it sold for 50 million British Pounds. You don't need a currency converter to know that's a lot of cash.

Unfortunately, several people are less than happy with the skull and Hirst's success with it. One artist who made a similar crystal skull in 1993 has dubbed For the Love of God plagiarism. Others say that the sale in its entirety was a fake; the buyer was anonymous. Perhaps the sharpest critique was a sculpture called For the Love of Go(l)d- a statue of Hirst shooting himself in the name of money. Nobody would put it beyond him.

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