Dear Damien Hirst
May 28 2012
Our Berlin based Kiwi mate Reuben plays in a band, stays up all night, writes this blog and, apparently, looks a lot like a man-sized cherub. This is a letter he wrote to England's leading formaldahyde artist Damien Hirst. Reuben's letting you read it because that's the kind of free spirit he is.
Dear Damien Hirst (acclaimed artist),
My name is Reuben Bonner and unbeknownst to you, we are now sharing a very critically acclaimed exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.
While you did the lion's share of the work (around 25 years’ worth), I would also like to take a small portion of credit for the wonderful collection for the following reasons.
1. I took in around 12 cigarette butts (mainly Rothmans) and dropped them in the art piece that is a gigantic ashtray filled with hundreds of cigarette butts. I suppose this is still mainly your art piece, but I like to think I have given it a bit of an upgrade as I couldn't really see many Rothmans butts in there before. If it was named 'Ashtray' before, maybe now it could be named 'Damian and Reuben's Ashtray 2.0' or something similar?
2. I also snuck in a fully-grown fly in a matchbox and released it inside the room where A Thousand Years is kept (the piece which has a cow’s head inside a big glass cabinet while thousands of flies buzz around inside it). I think this is pretty artistic on my part, as when people see my fly OUTSIDE the cabinet, they are probably wondering how it could have possibly escaped. Then they will probably think: 'Brilliant. One fly outside the cabinet, hundreds of thousands inside. That is art. What a statement.' I think this exhibition is mainly for the art connoisseur , but it is still effective. At least until my fly dies.
I hope you are not cross at me for doing this without asking first, but I suppose I would call myself a bit of a renegade or vigilante artist who doesn't usually ask for permission. I bet you can respect that. But, if you ARE cross please let me know, as I can easily go back and get the cigarette butts out and capture my fly if you don't like the idea of sharing the exhibition any longer. I know exactly where the cigarette butts are, and it shouldn't be too hard to find my fly, as it was pretty gigantic. Just let me know, but please do it by next Wednesday as I am leaving London (probably forever). Secretly I'm hoping you aren't cross, as it is at least an hour for me to get there on the tube and no doubt it will be packed with billions of people and I will probably have some stranger pressed against me, breathing directly into my mouth, maybe even with his penis pressed against my leg.
Can I please make some observations about our shared exhibition at this early stage:
1. I think your artworks are fantastic, even though I am an ignoramus I really felt like I was surrounded by real art when I was in our exhibition. It was truly, truly inspiring and it made me think that you would be a great guy to hang around in real life. My friend Beads who went to the exhibition also really loved it. Especially The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living AKA the tiger shark encased in formaldehyde solution.
2. I would love to have some LSD and go back to the exhibition, mainly to look at the incredible spinning psychedelic art piece in one of the smaller rooms (you know the one I mean). I hope now that, as it is partly my exhibition, I won't have to pay to get back in.
3. A lot of people who go and look at art walk around with their hands clasped behind their backs. I think this makes them look at least 50% more intelligent than the people who walk around with their hands to the side. Although the trade off is that they probably look 50% more like a wanker.
4. The Tate modern is not really very economical with space. My friend Beads and I stood outside the building commenting on how big it looked, then after walking in we realised that half the building was basically an empty carpark with a gigantic roof. Because of this Beads decided not to give the optional donation of 1.50 and said to the person at the ticket booth 'By the way you guys are using your space, it doesn't look really look like you are struggling financially.' The ticket person laughed and said 'Fair play'. It was a very valid point and I wished that I had thought of the same thing instead of paying the 1.50.
Anyway, I hope you get this email and it is just not read by the person who is in charge of your website. I wrote you this Haiku to say thank you for the art, and I hope you are having a nice day. It is called Damien and Me ( A Haiku)
Damien And Me
Our Art Will Live Forever
Until My Fly Dies
Reube Bonner (emerging artist)
p.s What do you think of London? For me personally, I am not so fond of how everyone always seems to talk about the tube. What tube line they catch, what tube lines are the worst on weekends etc etc. If people shut up about the tube for five seconds, I think I would like London a lot better.
p.p.s What are the odds of me getting a small cut of the income for our shared exhibition? Or do you think it is important for me to work as a struggling artist for a few more years before I try and cash in?
p.p.p.s Do you think there is a chance that my name could be added to all the signage at the exhibition or is it too much of a hassle? It would obviously be much smaller than your name. For example if your name was size 24 font, mine would be about 8 or 9. Is this something I should take up with the Tate museum directly?