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Spots and Sharks and Maggots and Money


The British Press on Damien Hirst
“Hirst’s exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London has sputtered on pointlessly into the bitter first month of this year … If I’d known the exhibition was still on, I probably would have avoided the museum entirely.” —Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 2010.

“The paintings are dreadful … utterly derivative of Bacon (give or take a dash of Giacometti), but they completely lack his painterly skill … The artist who has made his reputation with shock now produces works that are shockingly bad.” —Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times, 2009.

“Hirst has lived his career backwards, doing his greatest work first, saving all the repetitive stuff and the juvenilia for later.” —Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 2005.

“[In the catalogue for this show] the words most used and most superfluous are fuck and its derivatives—the fucking chair, fucking debris, fucking rectangle, fucking artist, fucking unbelievable. I take this as license, for this occasion only, to declare this detestable exhibition fucking dreadful.” —Brian Sewell, The Evening Standard, 2009.

“[The shark is] the world’s most over-rated marine organism … The idea that there is some special magic attached to Hirst’s work that shoves it into the multimillion-pound realm is ludicrous.” —Robert Hughes, quoted in the Telegraph, 2008.

“1. Are these new paintings, painted by Damien Hirst himself, any good? No, not at all, they are not worth looking at. 2. So why are you writing about them at such length? Because he is very famous. 3. And why has the Wallace Collection decided to exhibit them? Because he is very famous. 4. And why did Damien Hirst even paint them in the first place? Because he is very famous … Hirst, as a painter, is at about the level of a not-very-promising first-year art student. He is in his mid-forties.” —Tom Lubbock, The Independent, 2009.

“Let me write your review for you. I’m a cunt, this place is shit, and the artists I show are all fucked. Will that do it?” —Charles Saatchi to Adrian Searle, 2004.

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