Chapter 6

Surprising

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Source: Guy Bell/Alamy Stock Photo

Damien Hirst’s art will almost certainly have grabbed your attention just now because its surprising.

There are two types of surprise to look at: one is basic and reptilian, like being surprised by a slap in the face; whereas the other is more cognitive, like being surprised by a bisected cow in formaldehyde in an art gallery. Let’s take the slap in the face first.

Contrast

I always wondered why Michael Bay’s Transformers films were so popular. Transformers: Age of Extinction was the first film of 2014 to make $1 billion1 and its $90 million opening-weekend takings in China were an industry ...

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