Damien Hirst has been subjected to an anti-capitalist tirade from the pious Occupy Movement
In an article published on the Occupy movement’s official newspaper, Hirst is denounced as ‘a capitalist who exploits labour for vast gain, and pulls up the drawbridge just as the shit begins to fly.’ This article appeared simultaneously with the vandalism of Hirst’s Hymn – the massive recreation of an anatomical dummy installed in front of Tate Modern –, graffitied with the word ‘Occupy’.
The article proclaims: ‘Sharks. Death. Love. God. Money. If Hirst is anything, he is the brash Goldman Sachs of the art world. He has a vast personal fortune of over £200m, accumulated through an alchemy that would leave even the most brash bankers in awe: stock medicine cabinets, spots of paint, flies, butterflies and severed cows heads transformed into pieces that sell for millions.’
Occupy further condemn the way Hirst has ‘sub-contracted out the actual making of many of his works – the spot paintings, the spin paintings, the medicine cabinets – to a team of employees. These people worked for a fixed wage to create production line pieces from stock components that now sell for vast sums. Sums which they, of course, despite their labour, were excluded from sharing’.
‘Hirst isn’t an artist, but a manufacturer of objects who has developed a careful brand’: He is, apparently, ‘the man who has defined the capitalist approach to art more than any other …, stealing many of his ideas from other artists or craftspeople. With his clout he can get away with it, and copyright the results.’
And Occupy don’t stop there, but put the revolutionary boot into the Tate Modern itself: ‘The Tate may be on the South Bank of the Thames – since time immemorial the more creative and edgy cousin of the old city on the far shore – but it doesn’t mean that the money from the other side hasn’t seeped through’; ‘for £10,000 per year, you could also become a ‘Platinum Patron’ – earning the right to dine with Tate directors, and invitations to exclusive trips abroad to Sao Paulo, LA or Dubai.’
The article ends with the words: ‘I hope people go to see Hirst’s show – for free if they can – and become angered and fired up for action by the corrupt moral and economic vision he presents.’