Establishment attacks `sensational' Hirst

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The Independent Online
DAMIEN HIRST, enfant terrible of British art, is today accused of "farming out his work" by employing other people to work on his paintings.

The attack comes from the veteran abstract painter John Hoyland in an exclusive interview with The Independent.

It is the first time a leading member of the art establishment has aimed such a criticism at the fashionable Young British Artists. Hoyland also castigates the Royal Academy exhibitions secretary, Norman Rosenthal, and the foremost contemporary art collector, Charles Saatchi, for "following the herd".

The attack comes just as Hoyland, recently appointed professor of painting at the Royal Academy Schools, is to be honoured with his first major retrospective at the Royal Academy.

Speaking of what has become known as the Sensation group of young artists, Hoyland, 64, recently appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools, said: "I like dangerous painting and I don't think they are dangerous. They don't take risks.

"As for Hirst, he is becoming an entrepreneur, and I don't think that's a good thing. Artists should not farm their work out. I hear that he has lots of people working on his spin paintings. I can't see how you can have a humanity in your work if you do that.

"Art is a seismograph of the human being. You have to be hands-on."

Asked about Rosenthal and Saatchi, who put on the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy, Hoyland, himself a Royal Academician, replied: "They want to be fashionable. They want to follow the herd. It's all about fashion and marketing.

"Charles Saatchi is a positive force, but I don't regard him as a collector. He is a dealer."

Hoyland also turned on Goldsmiths' College, the London art school from which Hirst and many of his contemporaries graduated with a supposedly radical view of art. "Most of the ideas that have come out of Goldsmiths'," he said, "are old hat.

"They are history. There's nothing new about any of this stuff. It's just that it's now being marketed."

Hirst, meanwhile, is working on a new show in New York. The works include: a chainsaw coming out of a chair; a skeleton on a glass cross, with ping- pong balls for eyes; two shrouded cadavers on gurneys, entitled Adam and Eve Banished from the Garden.

Hoyland will also be interested to learn that Hirst's assistants are working on the artist's biggest spot paintings yet - each one is 40ft long and one has 18,000 spots.

Hirst, on the other hand, might look enviously at Hoyland, whose Royal Academy show catalogue is being sold at pounds 9.95 softback version, but in the hardback version, with a print enclosed, for pounds 120 - the most expensive catalogue yet at the Royal Academy.

Hoyland's exhibition of 23 works spans his entire career and opens at the Royal Academy on 30 September. He is renowned for large, strong abstract paintings.

Despite the criticism, Damien Hirst shows no signs of changing his style or his working methods.

Preparing for a show at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, he told The New Yorker magazine that he had assistants working on four spot paintings, the biggest he had ever made.

Hoyland accuses Hirst of lacking humanity in his work. Hirst said in his New Yorker interview: "I also want to do a chicken in formaldehyde, in an unlimited edition. A prepared chicken. It will look just like the kind you get in supermarkets, all trussed up. We'll sell it at Sainsbury's. I'm interested in mass market."

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