11 Opinions About Damien Hirst

Hirst at his Tate Modern retrospective this year. (Courtesy Getty Images) (Photo: Courtesy Getty Images)

In today’s Guardian, critic Jonathan Jones called Damien Hirst “a national disgrace, a living example that talent is nothing and money is king.” That brutal putdown is only the latest in a long line of attacks from art critics, particularly in the British press, that Mr. Hirst has endured over his long career. In honor of this latest sally, let’s take a look back at some of the provocative opinions—positive and negative—that have been offered about the artist over the years.

“[Damien Hirst] is a purveyor of cheap and nasty thrills rather than serious enlightenment.”
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph, 2012

“Damien Hirst is a brand, because the art form of the 21st century is marketing.”
Germaine Greer, The Guardian, 2008

“Damien Hirst isn’t an artist. His works…have no artistic content and are worthless as works of art. They are, therefore, worthless financially.”
Julian Spaulding, The Independent, 2012

“Hirst is probably one of the most inspiring people I’ve met. He pours ideas at you, he’s infected by a deep love of life and is completely fearless. He makes you feel good.”
Unbylined, The Idler, 1995

“Mr. Hirst is a shining symbol of our times, a man who perhaps more than any artist since Andy Warhol has used marketing to turn his fertile imagination into an extraordinary business.”
Alan Riding, The New York Times, 2007

“Hirst is clearly a historically significant artist—not least in his own earnest striving for life-and-death significance.”
Julian Bell, The New York Review of Books, 2012

“Hirst is the son of a used-car salesman, which might explain his fascination with wealth.”
Jennifer Kabat, Salon, 2012

“Mr Hirst is likely to be remembered for his unusual aptitude in blurring the line between the sacred and profane.”
Sarah Thornton, The Economist, 2012

“Damien Hirst is a bit of an enigma.”
Unbylined, TQS Magazine, 2012

“…Hirst is now at the top of his game.”
Blake Gopnik, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, 2012

“[Damien Hirst] is, perhaps, the artist we deserve.”
Unbylined editorial, The Guardian, 2012 11 Opinions About Damien Hirst