Friday, February 15, 2008

Damien and Bono

We have all heard the stories about Damien Hirst. Very few commentaries I have read have been raves or even complimentary. Perhaps this is due to the reading material I choose. Apparently, my library includes most of the detractors of mega art stars (?)
On February 13th, I was falling asleep and watching television with one eye. As I drifted in and out of conscientiousness, I heard male voices chatting away. I heard the word ART and woke up immediately. The voices were coming from the Charlie Rose show. He was interviewing Damien Hirst. I sat up to watch. I was so ready to hate Damien or at least want to throw stuff at the TV screen. I had read so many stories trashing him. I wanted to jump on the "I hate him" bandwagon or at least feel jealous. Neither happened. I can understand why some artists are so aghast. He is so smug and confident. He makes no apologies for making and spending millions. He hobnobs with the upper, upper social and art classes. He throws high power names around like 100 dollar bills. What a dream life, huh?
However, he has worked hard. I think of him as being akin to Andy Warhol. He understands what art marketing really is and does it on a level most of us cannot imagine. With his success and money, he has fabulous connections. It is due to this cadre of friends, one such friend Bono of U2 suggested Damien help with an art auction to benefit the RED campaign. The proceeds are to go the United Nations Foundation to support HIV/AIDS relief programs in Africa conducted by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Damien followed through and organized Auction RED.
So the auction happened. The “cause” raised 42 million smackeroonies. Isn’t it astonishing art has so much power? So I just have to give them that. BRAVO!!! Bono and Damien are movers and shakers. All that money will go to help people who need help desperately. I just can’t say anything bad about that. All I can say is MORE POWER TO THEM ALL!
Here is a link to the auction results:
Sotheby's Auction Red
Click here to watch a good portion of Damien on Charlie Rose

Here is a very poor quality video of an interview with Bono and Damien discussing the auction in a gallery full of the work available for sale.

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