Moral (and Musical) Equivalence
UNTIL RECENTLY, the avant- garde British artist Damien Hirst was best known in this coun- try for his participation in Sensa- tion, the notorious 1999 exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in which he displayed a “sculpture” consisting of the carcass of a pig, sawed in half and immersed in a formaldehyde-filled tank. But on September 10, 2002, Hirst staked a new claim to notoriety by claim- ing on a BBC broadcast that the destruction of the World Trade Center by Arab terrorists had been “visually stunning” and “kind of an artwork in its own right.” He went on to say: You’ve got to hand it to them on some level, because they’ve achieved something which no- body would have thought possi- ble, especially to a country as big as America. So on one lev- el they need congratulating, which a lot of people shy away from, which is a very dangerous thing.
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.