Damien Hirst Out of Ideas

The man that was once thought of as one of the most original thinkers in the arts is now being accused of not having any good ideas for the past 13 years. Arts writer Jonathan Jones once wrote glowingly about Damien Hirst, but now sees the artist as unimaginative and without ideas.

“In his day Hirst was, without question, the artist who most mattered in the entire world: the only artist whose images truly entered the culture’s lifeblood after the death of Andy Warhol. Even when he started to go off, he was worth giving the benefit of the doubt. I could forgive him everything because he had imagination. Now that is gone it is hard to forgive him anything.” Jonathan Jones

There’s also an active discussion going on at the bottom of the article, with all the usual Hirst attacks (mostly deserved). I think the artist would be loving every inch of text written about him. My guess is that Damien Hirst has this quote (below) by Andy Warhol printed on a card in his wallet. Every time he sees a negative article published about him, he probably pulls the quote out and giggles to himself.

Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” Andy Warhol
>> Damien Hirst News

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. It would appear that Hirst not only lacks original ideas himself but that he now stands accused of stealing ideas for one of his dot paintings from someone else. Time for the art world to wake up and smell the crap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One wag summed up Hirst years ago; “His work is just offal…”

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s curious that Britains top artists i.e. Damien,Tracy and the Chapmans produce such ugly, sordid and gruesome art…Why does crap have to be the best. Who say’s so?

  4. some people should be banned from having ideas… it wont be long before someone invents synapse shackles (please). Oh, wait they already have – cider.

  5. Good, bad, no ideas… whatever he is still in the news!!!

  6. I should think the disillusionment of the critic was due to his being now what he was 13 years ago, a co-creator with Hirst (among the many who also cooperated)of a fashion. If there is one thing one need not be an astro-physicist to know, it is that fashion, creators of fashion and, particularly, consumers of fashion live on change. Improvement, innovation, progress, imaginative and all the other buzz words, all come down to the fundamental law of fashion, that different is good, sameness is bad. These reflect the most basic need of the fashionable, change; the need is generated by the short attention span which requires makes anything boring, no matter what it might be, if it lasts more than a brief time. The horror for our (Western) culture is that even our best artists, most of them, realize that their success must be built on destruction, change from, rejection of, their forbears, unless they are sufficiently different in time or space so as not to make ones work seem to be just another boring extension of the predecessors. So, Picasso, a brilliant, scintillating artist at 19, knew that he could not seem to be one who was perfecting post-impressionism but had to strike out with something different; it was in Cezanne, then still only an artist’s artist, that he could root his work, not in the more successful, in those early years for him, artists who dominated the Parisian scene. ( The gallery of Picasso. mostly at 19-21, save for the later Vollard Suits of 100 prints, now at the Met in the Vollard Exhibition, as I have written previously, is as startling a demonstration of figurative painting for a youngster as one is likely to see. However, as Chuck Close says of his American generation, they deliberately set out to be as different as they could be from the Abstract Expressionist who preceded them. I leave it to the cultural sociologists and historians to explain why the art world -and not alone the art world-has fallen into this cult of progress through changeness not through perfection.)

  7. Hirst “has a reputation of being not only one of the most gifted artists but also one of the most controversial. He often portrays motifs of death, mortality and rebirth and has been known to show cut-open animals in formaldehyde, such as the cow and sheep which were part of an exhibition which won him the Turner Prize in 1995…”

    Is that art? NO, it’s merely taxidermy.

    Original ideas? Did he have any to begin with? Does it really matter? And so on and so on.

    The question why (?) should be pointed at the art world (read ARTist makers) and its backing/promotion, then and now, of stuff which is nothing more than just stuff.

    As Germaine Greer recently wrote “Art does not exist to display the dexterity or industriousness of the artist, or the grandeur of his personality… (art/stuff)is first of all a commodity.”

    And as Angela Ferreira so rightly pointed out ” he is still in the news” which, at least to me, says more about Hisrt than his “art”.

  8. The post from Irv explaining the symbiosis of the Fashion World(capital F) with the Art World (Capital A) is dead on; commerce depends on obsolesence. Technologies in data storage, image reproduction and broadcasting have produced a surplus of over exposed material, thus shortening a “movement’s” tenure through over-saturation. Bottom line: constant demand for re-invention despite it’s merrit or lack there-of. However, I disagree with the notion that it is borne by improvement, progress and innovation. Once a genre of art, music, etc has run it’s natural course through legions of innovative artists having mined all the practical possibilities, then perversion, in the form of pastiche, is all thats left. Witness the modern “rock music” of today. Skill and artistic talent are given short shrift for personality, controversey and sex appeal. Ayn Rand pointed out that mediocrity (and even inadequacy) is rewarded because it is non-threatening to the masses. Pop Icon Madonna is the epitome of this in the pop world; Koons and Hirst – the art world.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hirst wins again. Whether you like his work or not, he is still news. Andy was right. Andy was always right.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hirst was another product of the art industry. Now he is “old news”.
    The art dealers,the curators,the art
    magazines need something new to push,you can only sell so many work
    by an artist, you can only talk so much about him. I didnt care for his work but I know what’s happening to him,he is old news.
    The industry needs a new product.
    Its a ruthless biz.

  11. Proposing that Hirst’s famous works involving half sheep, sharks and so on is mere taxidermy is like saying that football is just a bunch of blokes kicking a ball around, or that Michelangelo was giving the Sistine Chapel a lick of paint. Clearly you have no concept of conceptual art.

  12. Dear Anonymous,

    Just because something is famous doesn’t necessarily qualify it as ART. This is not conceptual in its sense, it is just taxidermy that was done by an “artist” and labled art.

  13. I didn’t say that simply because something is famous, it automatically qualifies as art. That would be absurd.

    These works were not mere taxidermy … how many pieces of taxidermy have you seen where animals are halved lengthways for example?

    There are many things that can make this art – the manner in which it is presented, the title of the piece, your interpretation of the piece, your emotional reaction to the piece and so on and so forth.

  14. “There are many things that can make this art – the manner in which it is presented, the title of the piece, your interpretation of the piece, your emotional reaction to the piece and so on and so forth.”

    And not one of these you mention. It is just taxidermy for lack of a better term. Back to what you state, people can also get this when they visit a natural history museum.

    The point is it’s all hype with a marketing label. As Earl so wonderfully said :” Time for the art world to wake up and smell the crap.

  15. Damien Hirst has undoubtably dented the world, full stop. His drawings are nothing short of beautiful, his installations remain integral to collectors across the globe and like all heros or anti heros – he is firmly lodged in history forever. slag him off or love him, it dosn’t matter, not anymore, because he will continue to be one of the worlds most talked about artists, and for that he deserves more respect than people are willing to give.

  16. I find it hard to accept or take seriously the recent criticism of Hirst’s work based on the argument he ‘is out of ideas’.

    The fact remains that Hirst’s artwork is an ongoing investigation into death and art and this suggests that the same kind of imagery is repeated in different ways to work through an overall collective of the one idea.

    The claim that Hirst is ‘out of ideas’ is simply nonsense, he is rather continuing an idea that has plenty of life in its aesthetic and conceptual rationale.

    It is, however, interesting to note that the critics of Damien Hirst are more than not interwoven through a general opinion that his art is a ‘con’ because of issues of authorship and generous art market prices. Was it not the old Masters who created works through a studio system which Hirst himself employs? and do we complain when Old Master works sell for record prices when in fact, these works were at the time often condemned by the general public who now, in the twenty-first century, consider such works of immense worth?

    Such claims of ‘cons’, ‘crap’ and other misunderstandings need to have some breadth of reason behind them because I find them baseless and void of any creditable opinion.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good point that Hirst is still news.
    However I am not a big fan.

    Carmelo Lisciotto

  18. I’m a very strong Catholic.
    I’m not quite sure if i would really mind if he ran out of ideas, just so i could really figure out what he is exactly saying about my religion.
    things such as “The last supper” or “The Lamb Of God” almost seems like he is against our religion, but then it almost seems like he is just saying what people are doing to the religion.
    has anyone really ever got an answer from this man?
    i would like one.

  19. Anonymous says:

    id like to him him floating in liquid

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