Sunday, January 09, 2011

For Heaven's Sake

Artist Damien Hirst offends bereaved parents by using baby's skull for 'disturbing' new work. Damien Hirst has been accused of insensitivity for using a baby's skull studded with 8,000 diamonds for his latest art work.Damien Hirst has used an infant's skull to create his latest work, For Heaven's Sake. The skull, which is believed to be that of a child who died before it was two weeks old, is cast in platinum and studded with more than 8,000 pink and white diamonds by the royal jewellers Bentley & Skinner. Sally Russell, who founded the parenting group Netmums, says it is offensive to bereaved parents: "Mr Hirst may not have intended to be insensitive, but it will have a profound effect on many people who will find the subject deeply disturbing." Roger Sclare, the taxidermist, who provided Hirst with a previous skull, says: "Infants' skulls are rare, but they do occasionally come up for sale. Jude Tyrrell, the director of Science Ltd, Hirst's main art-production company, says: "Of course it's a delicate subject, but this is from an old collection, which we think is Victorian, and they were obsessed with collecting all sorts of bizarre things. I'm a mother, and I do find it slightly odd and strange to look at, but at the same time quite beautiful." It follows Hirst's 2007 work For the Love of God, a £50 million diamond-encrusted skull, which became the world's most expensive contemporary artwork and the largest diamond piece commissioned since the Crown Jewels. Studded with more than 8,600 diamonds, including a £4.2 million pink diamond set at its forehead, it has been described as "an anthropomorphised disco ball", "a cosmic wonder", "the vulgar embodiment of modern materialism" and, by Hirst himself, as "quite bling". "Diamonds are about perfection and clarity and wealth and sex and death and immortality. They are a symbol of everything that's eternal, but then they have a dark side as well." Roya Nikkhah and Richard Eden The Telegraph Celebrity News

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