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Street-Porter, Janet

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The Independent - United Kingdom | 11/09/2008

The conflict over Damien Hirst

British artist Damien Hirst has announced he will have more than two hundred of his artworks auctioned off directly to circumvent art dealers and gallery owners. Art critic Robert Hughes has now sharply criticised Hirst's work in a television programme. Janet Street-Porter defends the artist in The Independent: "It is easy to stop getting enthusiastic [about Hirst's work], to start sneering like Mr Hughes. But over the last 16 years Damien Hirst has not just made art that infuriates, stimulates and provokes us. He is single-handedly halted the dead hand of American cultural imperialism. Sure, he has an army of assistants. So did Andy Warhol. Sure, Damien's work is ludicrously expensive. But it is only worth what collectors will pay for it. ... Damien, the Chapman brothers and Tracey Emin have crossed from being successes within the art world to household names who make the national and international news. ... Great art is what you want it to be, and I want it to be provocative. No one does that better than Damien."

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