Monday, July 9, 2007


A rainy day in London was not going to stop us from seeing the Damien Hurst diamond skull at the White Cube gallery. Being a big fan of the human skull I was very excited. As Lisa and I approached we could see the line of people waiting to go in. As we went around to the back side of the gallery to get tickets the woman at the counter said it would only be about 10 to 20 minutes. It didn’t sound like that long of a wait. The backside of the ticket had a lot of rules in fine print. The second to the last one almost turned me away: “No Climbing or standing on or touching any exhibit(s)…” If I couldn’t climb on the diamond skull, then why bother showing up!

As the line moved along towards the gigantic frosted glass door it felt a lot like going to see the wizard. The helpful staff in their black suits looked a little like the Secret Service. 12 people at a time would be led in. When it was our turn, the group was escorted up a narrow staircase the building interior was white, sterile and modern. I was first in line as we reached the top of the stairs turned left down a narrow hall way the anticipation grew. At the end of the hall way was one of the Secret Service agents standing in front of opening into a larger room nothing was behind him except darkness. We were instructed by the agent to put all of our personal belongings on the floor to the right. The room was completely dark, but we were assured the room had a flat floor with no obstructions, nothing to trip over. No pictures! Do not touch the glass! He informed us it will take a moment for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, you will only have 2 minutes to view the skull, and then you will be asked to leave. Lisa and I were trying very hard to contain our laughter at this point. Such a build up! I don’t remember this much fan far when I went to see King Tut’s Golden mask, this had better be great.

Yes, it was fantastic. But the build up was the height of silliness! Especially in the U.K. where you’re surrounded by national art treasures. The skull sits on a black pedestal in a black room with many precision lights aimed at it. Very Sparkly. I got as close as my big nose could get with out touching the glass cube container. Amazing work! I can just picture Damien up late at night in his garage with tweezers and super glue carefully placing each precious stone. And before I knew it the dream was over, time was up. The rest of the show was very impressive. I do believe the skull’s status could be elevated by not having all of the flub-dubbery that surrounds it. If it were on display in a Cartier Jewelry store in a cabinet amongst many other sparkly-jeweled trinkets, it would kick ass! Now, it just sits on its pedestal laughing at the ridicule. Although, it would make an amazing hood ornament.

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