So I finally managed to get to the New Art Gallery to see the Damien Hirst exhibit “Away from the Flock“. As much as I appreciate art, I am one of those people who need to find the explanation of the piece so I can get a grip on what the artist meant. My first impressions, however, were that (although fully sheep-sized) you could tell that the animal was young. My second was that it was quite beautiful and peaceful-looking, and my third was, peculiarly, a sense of worry that the box wasn’t wide enough – that he looked a bit cramped. Anyway, so the piece is intended to be symbolic of the ‘Lamb of God’ – and for once I actually ‘Get’ the art (doesn’t happen very often with me) – the idea of the sacrificial lamb, but with a twist – this lamb has been sacrificed for art. Whether your reaction is horror, pity, or a sense of ironic poignancy, it doesn’t matter. I can see why all the controversy, but I also think it is important to push boundaries in art, to make us question why we have the reactions that we do. I encourage you to get down to the gallery and see the exhibition while its there, and see what your own reaction is. Not being a particularly ‘arty’ person, I’m very glad that I went to see it.
Having said all that, its not a patch on Liverpool’s Superlambanana by Taro Chiezo. I love being delighted, and coming across these superlambananas below just filled me with an unexpected sense of joy and fascination. I particularly like Mandy Mandala Superlambanana (below on the left) designed by Patricia Lee and housed at the Liverpool Museum.
As for Hirst, there is more of his work on the way over the next year – with a butterflies exhibit planned – I’m hoping to be working with the Black Country Biodiversity Group and my good friend Zoe from the NAG to deliver a series of butterfly-themed events. You can keep up to date with the Walsall Butterfly Festival on facebook! And in the mean time, you can pick up some Hirst-Butterfly paraphernalia at the NAG shop. Check out my cool post cards and Damien Hirst pencils!