How much would you pay for a bull in formaldehyde? Some think £8-12 million sounds reasonable! Admitably the hooves, horns and crown are 18-carat gold but, call me a Philistine, I think “lipstick on a pig” is a metaphor that’s not entirely inappropriate for this Golden Calf by Damien Hurst.
Not that this artwork is inaffective. It symbolically evokes science, religion, beauty and death readily enough, which seems to be the intent. But, as in the way of contemporary art, it’s in that meaningless meaning, messageless messanger sort of way. Having been extracted from its narrative context, the religious content becomes obscure and illusive.