[Fig. 1] The cover of the book in question, whose title is too lengthy to display here.
07.12 I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now
In the UK, everyone's heard of Damien Hirst. He is tabloid fodder and shares front pages with coke-toting Kate Moss and ego-tripping Liam + Noel. Political cartoons poke fun at him like they do at Tony Blair and Prince Harry. He's simultaneously despised and revered as, respectively, the harbinger of the art world's doom and its sun-dappled savior.
Hirst [ever-photogenic, fig. 8] started his career immediately on the defense. Flak was taken because of a fortuitous [for both parties] discovery and generous nearly-corporate funding by ad-man Charles Saatchi. Hirst has taken to, in recent years, making international art critics eat several of their words by proving that he doesn't solely know how to paint saccharine dots [LSD, fig. 4] and place dead animals in formaldehyde [The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, fig. 5]. Despite the fact that he does these things proficiently--expertly, even--he's also proven a certain worth with traditional [oil on canvas, namely] techniques; the photorealistic Elusive Truth series [Hospital Corridor, fig. 7] must have turned several naysayers into subsequent believers.
It's no surprise then, that Hirst has made somewhat of an empire for himself. When pieces fetch as much as £9.65m [$19,610,000 US Dollars,paid for Hirst's Overflowing With Love butterfly painting in 2004], one has to find hobbies other than painting and cutting up frozen dead things. One appears to be self-funding exorbitant art projects for himself, such as the $15m [production cost] diamond-encrusted human skull that will purportedly sell for $99m later this year. Bookmaking, it seems, has come to be another of those hobbies.
"I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now" is an expertly-designed book [Figs. 1, 2, 3]. The kind of book that can only be made with an exorbitant budget [inserts here and there, a built-in place-holder/magnifying glass, several pop-up pages, a number of die-cuts + cut-outs, constantly-varying and always sumptuous paper stocks]. The price tag is thus printed on the book's jacket accordingly [the 2nd Edition goes for $63.00 on Amazon], but even then, the production makes one question just how much the publishers [Hirst + Co.?] are getting back.
The artwork here is as eclectic as the book's production. It runs the gamut from Hirst's trademark dot paintings to his infamous encased displays and butterfly paintings [butterflies were indeed harmed in their making]. It is beautiful, disturbing stuff, chock full of the perfect mix of shock value and concept: just the kind of cynical stuff that appeals to the young wealthy-via-pessimism millionaires of the Y Generation.
It's all very much worth it. The book, that is. Press clippings abound, placed alongside the art so one gets an idea of its context; what was it like to go see two dead cows copulating in formaldehyde in a white cube gallery in 1995? For those who weren't there, it puts them one small step closer to realizing the impact that Hirst has had--and continues to have--on the art world.
So it's good. Whether it's $63.00-good is up to you. If it's ultimately just about seeing the art, then it's a relatively minimal cost of admission.
Or you could just go to Sotheby's and write them a check for twelve million dollars. Either way. Your call.