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Yesterday in the art class we studied the Young British Artists headed up by Damien Hirst.

We started though with Gilbert and George.

They are similar to Hirst in their brilliant self promotion.

They wear the same suits, always lived in the same house in Spitalfields, dine in the same restaurant eating the same choices.

Their philosophy was to eliminate change by ritual. The publicity they attracted and they sought ensured they would be around for some time. They were unusual in their support of Mrs Thatcher.

Damien Hirst was more unusual with his animals in a case  one a cow’s head next to a box of ants. I have to admit this was not my bag.

Moreover not much of his art output bore his personal touch. I was met by the counter argument that you could say the same of Raphael, Rembrandt and Titian, the latter had a massive studio and his work was not just sub-contracted but sub-sub-contracted.

Nor did those cabinets of pharmaceuticals by Hirst do anything for me.

Hirst in the Sunday Times rich list himself does not collect such conceptual art but the Masters. I’m told by dealers treat his prices are beginning to drop and one wonders if in the future his reputation will last. Will he be someone who redefined art such as Eduard Manet did with his flatter paintings, or a Picasso with angular cubism or is he a meteor who rose , burned out and sunk without trace ?

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts