POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Damien Hirst, Innocence Lost, 2009, 200 x 50 mm, Glass, sausage and alcohol
Is Damien Hirst’s editioned, alcohol-drenched sausage in a baby bottle a joke? The fact that it’s available at Other Criteria, a publishing founded by Damien Hirst, Hugh Allan and Frank Dunphy in 2005 suggests that it’s not, but it’s also not the only hysterically weird piece on the site. Pair this with a few absurdly art speak-y product descriptions and half of yesterday was wasted chuckling over what I thought was an ingenious lark.
Based in Marylebone, London, the website’s About Page informs users on their various awards and mentions in essays by such superstars as Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gordon Burn, J.G. Ballard, and Jeremy Miller. Maybe one these guys can explain the sausage in a baby bottle, Cindy Sherman’s boobalicious tea-set and tax disc holders by artists such as Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas, and Gary Hume. Our highlights with commentary after the jump. Hat tip: @nuarto9
The number of artists who have made a limited edition towel available only through this site seems absurd. Is it possible that this site inspired the infamously dubbed Julian Schnabel towel “Schnowel”? Either way, I’m excited to self-reflectively lie on the beach, while the eyes of the towel engage my back.
From the website:
The gaze is the subject of these artist-designed beach towels, four individual designs of which are available through Other Criteria. Alluding to the self-reflexive and self-conscious nature of the beach towel on which we lie, each design uses either the artist's portrait or the eyes of one of their subjects as a way in which to make contact with the viewer, the beach-goer or the picnic-maker.
The oversized towels are 100% cotton and machine washable.
Printed on archival quality 100% cotton rag Somerset paper
Edition of 500
Is there anything on this so-called fake tax disc or is it just a blank CD? If it’s the latter, we’re not talking about something all that interesting, but if it’s the former, I’m not sure what we’re talking about as no details are given. The write up suggests using the piece to brighten your windscreen, which I suspect is British slang for something other than a driver’s windshield. UPDATE: This is a disc-shaped certificate displayed on your car’s windshield that proves you paid your taxes. Thanks Greg!
The text below:
Pretty Taxing produces a range of exclusively commissioned tax disc holder designs from top artists and designers to brighten your windscreen. Each design is an edition of 500 and comes with a fake tax disc to be replaced by your own or added to a collection on your windscreen. Gavin Turk's 'Blue Heritage Plaque', while still a collectible artwork, is sold as an unlimited edition at the artist’s request.
The edition comprises of a certificate of authenticity and a circular artwork which are both hand numbered with their edition number. The specially designed packaging is also hand numbered on the outside and the circular artwork comes inserted into the Pretty Taxing plastic tax disc holder along with the fake tax disc.
Pretty Taxing will launch new editions of tax disc holders by leading artists and designers on a regular basis so that customers can build their own in-car art collection.
The certificate and circular artwork are printed onto the highest grade, archival quality 100% cotton rag Somerset art paper using light fast, high density inks to ensure a vibrant and lasting reproduction.
To view all Pretty Taxing tax discs in the Artist’s Collection, click here.
Cindy Sherman, Madame de Pompadour (née Poisson), 1990
21-piece porcelain Tea Service: 1 teapot, 1 sugar bowl, 1 creamer, 6 cups, 6 saucers, 6 dessert plates
Edition of 75 in each of four colour options
Who wants a Tea Set with Cindy Sherman’s boobs as Madame de Pompadour? The sets are offered in blue, pink, yellow, and green. To those looking to sink £4,000 into the plates, we recommend the Royal Blue. It’s simply more tasteful.
In commemoration of Madame de Pompadour (nee Poisson) — famous courtesan and mistress of King Louis XV of France — Cindy Sherman has cast herself in the role of Pompadour in this exquisite 21-piece tea set. Made from Limoges porcelain, after the original design commissioned by Pompadour in 1756, creative chameleon Sherman challenges the idea of identity and ownership, utilising a complex photo-silkscreen process to replace the courtesan's portrait with her own.
Signed and numbered by the artist, the tea set is available in a range of colours: apple green, rose, royal blue, and yellow. Each colour has been produced in a limited edition of 75.
Kiki Smith, Cat, 1999
82.6 x 82.6 x 95.3 mm
High-fired porcelain with glazed interior
Edition of 150
In the same way that every cat evokes anything from the Sphinx to Jelly molds, so does Kiki Smith’s mug. I rather like the way the ears support the body of this cup, but I’m not convinced I need it for my home. There’re not enough hieroglyphics on this kitty for me, I guess.
Departing from her lifetime's commitment to print, Kiki Smith has created an edition of 150 high-fired porcelain cat's head objects, 3 of which are for sale through Other Criteria.
Smith extends her fascination with the natural world and the relationships between animals and humans, anthropomorphizing her cat's head as both a design object and functional container. The cat's head, with glazed interior, stands upright and upside down, making for a curious and whimsical object and a drive to experiment beyond the two dimensions of print. Some of the qualities of print remain, however, in the raised linear surface of the creature's fur.
In many ways, this intriguing object — at once surreal, comical and absurd — recalls Smith's multiples of the 1970s and 80s, when she worked with Collaborative Projects, Inc. to create artist-made accessories. The network of fabricators with whom she collaborated in the past — glass blowers, metal-smiths and foundries — are all referenced here. Smith's love of puppetry is evidently an influence, and in combining elements of artisanal kitsch and playful practicality, she produces something unique and unusual. Relics of other cultures and readings surface; the cat appears mythological, sphynx-like, totemic, an artefact of anthropology, and yet at the same time, recalls the jelly moulds and kitsch figurines of Western windowsills and kitchen displays.
Damien Hirst, Innocence Lost, 2009, sausage in a baby bottle with alcohol, 2009
200 x 50 mm
Glass, sausage and alcohol
And last but not least, Damien Hirst’s latest masterpiece — pork sausage and alcohol in a baby bottle. I’m not really sure what to say about this work that isn’t already obvious, except perhaps that were I a collector, I would insist on signing papers ensuring the artist’s replacement of the pork sausage in the event of inevitable conservation problems.
Innocence Lost, a glass baby's bottle containing a pork sausage pickled in alcohol, makes foul, connotative paradoxes out of ideas of nourishment and nurture. Visually, the work is a reminder of Hirst's formaldehyde pieces as well as the surreal performances of pantomime and Punch & Judy shows. It is at once humorous and disturbing.
The glass bottle is engraved with the edition number, Hirst logo and signature.