Overkill: art rising from the dead

aurel_schmidt_body_swallows world />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

We’ve heard less
from the media about that ghoulish reincarnation of Joseph Beuys, Gunther von Hagens, still trotting his plastinated corpses around the globe, and there’s been mercifully little mention of his Russian fellow-ghoul Andrei Molodkin
and his plans to boil down human volunteers into oil. Either the volunteers got cold-pressed feet or Molodkin dropped off the media radar. Either way, it seems to confirm the surmise that economic hardship promotes positive art. Good news for Greece, where we can now look google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; forward to a revival of the Age of



Meanwhile back in Blighty Charles Saatchi – the former financier of the YBA death merchants who made possible The Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – has been bucking the trend with a silly season

exhibition Dead: A Celebration of
Mortality at the Saatchi Gallery, timed to publicise the launch of his book

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of the

same title. Bound like a mini-tombstone between fake marble covers with
incised gold lettering, this tasteful little tome google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; relays a selection of the Evening Standard newspaper columns in which Saatchi has been jotting his weekly musings on life and death in that strangely disjointed style that makes src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> you
think of a clerk in a green visor

tapping away at a vintage telegraph machine. Either that or it makes you wonder whether there might not be some connections missing in his brain.

All the

same, he does have a tinder-dry sense of humour (though if he’s advertising for the next Mrs S, ‘DSOH’ may
not be enough to swing it) and


his chapter headings are chuckle-worthy. Some are laugh-out-loud funny in a Seth MacFarlane cartoonish sort of way – ‘Run Over by Your Own Car,


Driven by Your Own Dog’. Some are on the Goyaesque side of macabre – ‘The Answer to Population Expansion and Food Shortages: Eat Children.’ Some are sensibly practical – ‘If You Want to Murder
Your Spouse, Use Arsenic’
(don’t throttle her in public). Some are Jesuitical – ‘Get to Heaven an Hour before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’ – and src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> some //--> disarmingly self-mocking – ‘Are You Being Bored to Death by this Book?’

This is what Saatchi is good at: the attention-grabbing one-liner that sells the product. Like his ES pieces, his exhibition was a string of loosely associated thin google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; ideas. He collects art works like he collects facts, in bulk, and presents them in a similarly disconnected way, without argument. One gallery contained photographs of Russian mafia graves, google_ad_height = 90; a bomb

on Death Row.

One essay in Saatchi’s book tells the


cautionary tale of American news anchor Christine Chubbuck who shot herself on screen in 1974 in protest at her channel’s obsession with gore. There’s only so much death a body


can take. Even Damien Hirst, whose obsession with mortality may
well be genuine, has stopped trying to flog a dead horse – with or without golden hooves – and started looking on the bright side of the life cycle. It began with that hideous series of Fact Paintings (2005-6) painted from photographs google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; of the caesarian birth of his third son Cyrus //--> and has continued in The Miraculous Journey, the recent sequence of equally hideous bronzes of developing foetuses commissioned as
street furniture by /* xin-1 */ the Qatari Royal Family in the run-up (they hope) to the 2022 Doha World Cup. Ironically, this is one case where funerary monuments to dead Nepalese workers might be more appropriate.

Washed-up celebrity artistes end up in Vegas; washed-up celebrity artists end up in Doha. It’s no coincidence that both are deserts. On home

turf, meanwhile, Hirst is following in the footsteps of his old patron

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Saatchi and seeking a new form of artistic immortality
as /* 9-970x90 */ a philanthropic museum owner. His free gallery in Newport Street, Lambeth, opening google_ad_height = 90; in

Process Overview:

October, is being built

​ to house his morbidly titled Murderme Collection, but its inaugural show will be a life-affirming exhibition of paintings by his old adversary John Hoyland. Cheer, up everyone! There may be

For detailed process, you can “visit here” or contact support@goldenname.com.

life after death.

Laura Gascoigne