Art Class: Damien Hirst - Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable @ Palazzo Grassi
This is my first art class blog to feature an exhibition that isn't part of the Biennale here in Venice running from May-26th November 2017.
This exhibition has been running since 9th of April and will continue on until the 3rd December 2017 at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana , a stone's throw away from the Academia Bridge located in the heart of Venice.
Damien Hirst is a world renown artist from the UK. Born in the mid-sixties and rising to prominence in the 1990s, Damien Hirst is very much the face of contemporary art in Britain and his art has been exhibited all over the world. Damien Hirst is also now considered to be the richest living artist in the world and his net worth is well into the hundred millions.
I decided to go to this exhibition because I've never particularly given any of Damien Hirst's work a chance. I just sort of assumed I wouldn't like any of it. Growing up in London I came to the belief that artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin belonged to the cult of Pop Artists whose unmade beds and Swarovski crystal skulls made by art slaves (Unpaid student interns) were auctioned off for millions of pounds whilst talented painters were relegated to selling caricatures in Covent garden in order to make ends meet. My friends know that I have a love of anything old or traditional. I adore religious and renaissance art, think more Hans Holbein the Younger and Caravaggio. Oil paintings and tapestries with rich and luxurious colours definitely caught my attention when I would be dragged along to galleries as a child and I didn't find an appreciation for modern art until my early 20s after years of being dragged to modern art exhibitions by my extremely talented and creative friends.
I will first say that this exhibition was not accessible at all. It costs 18 euros to the general public. I think free for Venetians, and students of the universities in the city. That was the only reason I didn't turn back at the door. Art class is all about exploring and opening my mind and learning about new art along the way. One thing I am grateful for in England is how accessible art is for everyone. Most of our galleries are free and we pay a small fee to enter most exhibitions. Venice relies heavily on its tourism so I suppose I can't be too bitter about it. Besides, now I live here I'm on the benefiting end of these regulations.
The exhibition space was amazing! It was at Palazzo Grassi; A stunning Palazzo done in the classical style with a facade constructed from white Marble. Right in the centre was the statue of the 'freed slave' Cif Amotan II. The exhibition details the story of the ancient wreck of a ship named the Unbelievable and the treasures found inside.
Apparently this exhibition took up to 10 years to create and it shows fantastical and sometimes outrageous 'discoveries' from the sunken ship. One of my favourites was a sculpture from the jungle book and a moss covered transformers bot.
This was definitely a good entry level Damien Hirst exhibition if, like me you actually had no idea as to what his work actually entails and it was... not bad. In fact I have to say I quite enjoyed the exhibition. It wasn't my favourite but it's worth seeing. If you have 18 euros or access to a Venetian student card come by and check out his work. There is a lot to see and the space is pretty amazing!