October 4, 2009
LSD by Damien Hirst (example of a spot painting)
A new art exhibition at Tate Modern, a British museum, is looking for identical twins to be part of their Pop Art exhibition running from October 1 to January 17. The museum is looking for identical twins of 'the same height and stature' and they must wear the same clothes. They'll be spending four hour shifts sitting in front of spot paintings by Damian Hirst. In return they'll make about $12 per hour and receive photographs of themselves in front of the art signed by the artist.
Spot paintings are dots of varying colors in a row/column format. Each twin will sit in front of a painting, and each painting will have the same colors in different arrangements. According to the artist on a video hosted by the Tate Modern, the idea is to make a statement about how the paintings (and the twins) look identical from a distance, but up close differences are obvious.
Hirst is a bit of a controversial figure in the art world. He owns the record for the most expensive living artist for his piece 'For the Love of God' which sold for 50 million British pounds. Critics argue that his art consists of more flash than substance. He's also accused of exploiting his own fame regularly because his assistants do much of the actual art. Hirst counters this accusation with his own belief that if he is responsible for the concept he is the author of the work no matter who does the actual work of assembling the art.
It's hard to not think of this as a stunt meant to exploit twins, especially given Hirst's reported tendency to use assistants for a lot of his artwork. Most available literature on parenting twins makes a point of encouraging twins to develop as separate personalities. In that light it can be difficult to approve of anything that encourages thinking of twins as an individual entity. On the other hand, only adult twins are allowed to participate and calling it exploitation when someone does something of their own free will is a difficult position to argue.