L is for Lamb, from ABC by Damien Hirst

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For an artist who’s made a career out of stirring the pot, Damien Hirst’s most recent act seems relatively tame. The shock artist has just come out with a brand-new alphabet book for kids. Which doesn’t sound that risque until you pause to consider how little of his artwork would actually fly with G (or PG13) set. The upcoming book — entitled Damien Hirst ABC — is, as one would expect, an alphabetized tour of the artist’s most (in)famous works. F does not stand for Fetus, Human (in case you were wondering), though a formaldehyde shark does flash his nonworking pectoral fin at J (as in “Jaws”), and that  iconic gem-encrusted skull (the one worth more than your life) is the grinning emissary of “D is for Diamonds.”

Surely Hirst’s no stranger to controversy, but by marketing to children, he’s targeting an unlikely (and extremely impressionable) demographic. As an interested third party, I’m actually quite curious to see both the art and non-art community’s reaction — will they  be shocked? Appalled? Intrigued? What are the projected sales numbers? Will Hirst’s staunchest supporters feel comfortable sharing his provocative imagery with their young children? Or will the book be more of a novelty/collector’s item than actual learning tool?

Tell me what you think about Hirst’s latest artistic endeavor — and let me know whether you’ll be adding “Baby’s First Coffee Table Book” to your family’s holiday wishlist. (via The Guardian UK)

A is for Anatomy, from ABC by Damien Hirst