/>Things have gone rather quiet on the mortality front since queues stretched around the White Cube block in Mason’s Yard for a sight of Damien Hirst’s £50m sculpture For the Love of God. In those days of skulls and diamonds, Paul Wilks wrote a letter to The Jackdaw lamenting the morbidity of contemporary art, wondering why two horrific world wars had produced “art infused with LIFE” while a record period of peace and prosperity had left a legacy of art obsessed with death.
He had a point – there was a lot of it about. From Ron Mueck’s Dead Dad and the Chapmans’ Hell to Sam Taylor Wood’s time-lapse films of decomposing fruit and furry animals and Marc Quinn’s endless stream of Blood Head selfies, the art world mood music of the turn of the century was the bells of hell going tingalingaling and the tills chachinging. In those halcyon years of boom