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Not news, but musings today: Here's a quote from a recent Roberta Smith article about Damien Hirst's shark, which is on view at the Met for the next 3 years: "If the shark is a beginning [of the YBA moment], perhaps the peak (and beginning of the downward spiral) is Mr. Hirst’s latest controversial artwork, the diamond-encrusted platinum skull shown in London this summer. It seems like the perfect summation of our wasteful, high-priced, oblivious moment, an implicitly regal 21st-century equivalent of Cellini’s gold saltcellar. " I think Smith is ignoring the point of the skull here. While I agree that that Western culture — or rather, global First World culture — is in a particularly frivolous moment, I think the skull a gorgeous, ultimately very visceral and simple vanitas object that critiques frivolity and ideas of preciousness as much as it celebrates them. I think it's a great artwork. [I've posted this item on our message boards; please comment there.]

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