Damien Hirst is a British artist who's famous for installation pieces featuring dead animals floating in formaldehyde that sell for exorbitant amounts of money. He also does "spin paintings," which are created by someone (not Hirst himself, but one of his employees) dripping paint onto a flat, revolving surface. His piece For the Love of God, pictured here, was fashioned from a real human skull to which he affixed 8,601 diamonds. Whenever I think of Damien Hirst, I'm reminded of the painter Rabo Karabekian from Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, who "with his meaningless pictures had entered into a conspiracy with millionaires to make poor people feel stupid" (Vonnegut 214). Hirst doesn't even paint most of his own pictures, and I think the idea of the mastermind conceptual artist taking all the credit for merely signing his name on the work of others, especially as some sort of "ironic" critique of capitalism and mass production, was fraudulent and boring when Andy Warhol did it 40 years ago.
Damien Hirst's work is smug, nihilistic, and morally and aesthetically disgusting. He's not an artist, he's an artiste, and celebrity bullshitters like him are the reason why most people don't visit art galleries.
(Image from myartspace.com. Originally posted at Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!)