Thursday, July 2, 2009

Art Is Forever

We all know that art is eternal. It lasts forever. Or, at least, most of it is supposed to.

And great sculpture was made of materials that were most likely to last forever: bronze, marble, porcelain, etc.

Art's foreverness distinguishes it from mere consumer products, objects that are made to be used, used up, and thrown away.

This was why many of us, myself included, felt a tinge of Schadenfreude when hedge fund king Steven Cohen's $8,000,000 Damien Hirst sculpture began to disintegrate.

You may recall that the sculpture was a tiger shark suspended in a large vat of formaldehyde. Apparently, no one had imagined that sharks would disintegrate in that kind of chemical bath.

To the point that Hirst had to go out and catch a new tiger shark to replace the old one. Only then would it be worth showing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I first wrote about this in a blog post. Link here.

Now, I read on that some of the more cutting-edge works of contemporary sculpture are not exactly forever. These were constructed of the most modern plastics, plastics that everyone thought would be as sturdy as marble and bronze, but which turn out to be entirely vulnerable to the elements.

Sam Kean has written the full story of the perils of plastic art in an article entitled: "Does Plastic Art Last Forever?" Link here.

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