Leading article: The art of patronage

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The Independent Online

He has been so ubiquitous and successful for so long that, somewhat inevitably, it has become fashionable to criticise Damien Hirst. But as he unveils his personal art collection at the Serpentine Gallery today, we have a good opportunity to evaluate what he has achieved during his career. We are used to Hirst the artist, but his breakthrough was actually as a curator. In 1988 he established the Freeze art exhibition, bringing the work of his fellow students at Goldsmith's College to public attention. This was the shot in the arm the contemporary British art scene needed.

Now he is playing curator again - but this time there is a difference. He is one of the most powerful figures in the contemporary art world. It will be fascinating to see if Hirst can shake things up as much in his new role of grand patron, as he did as the enfant terrible of the British art scene. Let's hope so.

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