England

Swindle? Con artist? In defence of Damien Hirst


He’s Britain’s most famous artist but Damien Hirst’s work is “con art” and its value like toxic debt, says Julian Spalding. In defence of Hirst, Art Review’s Oliver Basciano writes for Channel 4 News:

“He’s Britain’s most famous artist but Damien Hirst’s work is “con art” and its value like toxic debt, says Julian Spalding. In defence of Hirst, Art Review’s Oliver Basciano writes for Channel 4 News.

For worst, we all have to sell ourselves somehow. And to be fair, if I had self-published a book online and needed a bit of publicity, I’d try chucking some rocks at the biggest kid in the playground for some attention too. The problem for me with Tuesday’s opinion piece in the Independent by Julian Spalding, the conservative critic and former curator, is that he’s not just having a dig at Damien Hirst, whose work he says has “no artistic content and are worthless as works of art”, but goes on to write-off the whole on contemporary, concept-led, art.

Hirst’s work has long bitten the dust, and very few people with an ounce of critical sense give his recent work much thought any more beyond the occasional comic snipe (in January for example, as Hirst was showing his spot paintings in all eleven Gagosian Galleries around the world, the critic Christian Viveros-Faune wrote a darkly ironic obituary in the Village Voice for the artist).

Sure, through a combination of his fame, historic affection and sheer awe for sublime financial clout, Hirst will get tons of people through the doors of Tate Modern when his retrospective opens next month. Some will be happy buying Spot Painting magnet sets and Spin Painting umbrellas from the gift shop for the brand recognition they inspire. The hedge fund managers and oligarchs will be told to buy the real thing by their advisers. The rest of us who oddly get off on thinking about art, writing about it, making it and seeing as much of it as possible, will largely let it pass us by. There is simply too much other stuff, more relevant to our current, more precarious times, to occupy us now.”

Read on at Channel 4.