Friday, September 12, 2008


With Damien Hirst's Beautiful Inside My Head Forever auction at Sotheby's making international waves lately [ 1 - 2 - 3 ], it might be prudent to mention here that the Mattress Factory was the first museum to show Hirst's work in the United States.


Bad Environment for White Monochrome Paintings (1993)
Steel, glass, acrylic on canvas, plastic containers for food and water, sarchophaga and musca domestica
500 Sampsonia Way, 4th floor

A 50-foot corridor of glass and steel separates the viewing public from the gallery. There are four white monochrome paintings, 7' x 7', in each of two galleries. Three, hanging on the walls, are sprayed with sugar water. One, propped horizontally on sawhorses, is sprayed with a clear adhesive that never dries.

In front of each painting are four black bowls. One bowl contains powdered sugar and powdered milk; another, covered with gauze, contains water. Two contain a mixture of molasses, wheat germ, yeast, and water, where flies would lay their eggs. Initially maggots were placed in the medium, to begin the natural process. As the maggots become flies, they drink the water and eat the food, which is changed regularly.

The installation opened with a pristine cleanliness. As time passed, the flies multiplied, and the space and the canvases became dirtier and dirtier.

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