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Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian

Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created
a monster’

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Damien Hirst discusses his new exhibition space in south London and tells how curation
has affected his career
uring the period he refers to as his “glory years”, Damien Hirst[1] had a favourite gag. He
would pull his foreskin through a hole in his pocket, then exclaim in mock alarm:
“What’s that?” “People would go, ‘You’ve got some chewing gum on your trousers.’ They
would touch it and go, ‘What the fuck?’” he said, smirking. He played this trick on
drinking buddies and he played it on complete strangers. He particularly enjoyed
targeting self-important art world types. Hirst recently turned 50, and these days he



Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian

appears to be almost fully house-trained. He still has the swagger, leather jacket and Tshirt wardrobe of a rock star, and his mobile phone is loaded with eye-poppingly deviant
film clips that he collects for his amusement and often shares; but he also now does yoga
three times a week, and stopped flashing when he gave up drink and drugs almost nine
years ago.
Britain’s most famous living artist continues to stir controversy, although he is more
likely to be excoriated for the failings[2] of the national culture[3] than lauded as a
national treasure. Guardians of “real art” and highbrow defenders of the avant garde
routinely nestle together under the same duvet, shocked not so much by the paintings
and sculptures and installations he churns out at an extraordinary rate as by his refusal
to accept that the time has come to keep his creations, like his penis, decently out of

Damien Hirst set back art by 100 years, says
Henry Moore's daughter
Read more
But it’s worth taking note of what Hirst does because he is an agent of change. He has
always been entrepreneurial, prolific and populist – qualities that, in tandem with his
practice of employing technicians to realise the bulk of his output, challenge ideas about
authenticity. And his latest venture may prove the most startling thing he has ever done.
In April, the floor of his office at the Marylebone headquarters of his company, Science


public gallery. Hoyland got his own solo turn at the Whitechapel Gallery seven years later. Art is a seismograph of the human being. Andy Warhols. he reset the course of British art with the exhibition Freeze[9]. each hung with tiny replicas – Francis Bacons. In promoting his own view of contemporary art through the medium of a big. he has chosen the British abstract painter John Hoyland[5]. “I hear that [Hirst] has lots of people working on his spin paintings.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Ltd. Now Hirst. held in an empty Port Authority warehouse in London’s Docklands.” he said. “Artists should not farm their work out[7]. he is testing his power to shape tastes and markets. grizzled but boyish in his enthusiasms. In 1988. and his most consistent. an exhibition of abstract paintings by British artists that flustered the art establishment in 1960. and Hirst in particular – objecting furiously when the Royal Academy announced plans to put on Sensation[6]. sounded a rallying cry against the so-called Young British Artists. but by the time of Sensation. It was Hoyland who. Curating was Hirst’s first talent. and his ability to exert control. where he will curate exhibitions assembled from his own art collection. they were. was strewn with models of a gallery. For the gallery’s opening show this September. On past performance. embedded in the establishment he once goaded. He was excited. Banksys – like toys for a super-rich kid which.” Like the target of his complaint. Hoyland once appeared transgressive. his star had been eclipsed by conceptual and pop artists. He has a face that can move from cherubic to demonic and back again when he is at his most animated. in 1997. He has spent £25m to build the facility. too.html 3/20 . I can’t see how you can have humanity in your work if you do that. and this project has obsessed him for years. has reached an uncomfortable stage in his career. Instead. an exhibition of works from Charles Saatchi’s collection of YBA pieces. The shows he put on at the start of his career managed to generate a level of excitement not always matched by acclaim for his work. he is doing something far more likely to shore up his status and secure his legacy. bright and acerbic. to prove his relevance. He was plotting a series of exhibitions at the Newport Street Gallery[4] in Lambeth. The threechrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. a prodigious talent who never quite enjoyed the recognition he expected or deserved. John Bellanys. talking fast. south London. by founding Newport Street. You have to be handson. in a way. Hirst looked down on the world he was creating and played with its possibilities. He was the youngest participant in Situation[8]. he might be expected to try even harder to shock.

and his compulsion to collect it. In the push to find a warehouse space. sitting amid a solo show of her latest work[18] at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in Mayfair. he kept much of what he acquired. “That felt like a fortune in those days. Collectors and galleries nosed around many of the other participants. Michael Landy[14]. including Mat Collishaw[10].7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian part show helped to launch Hirst’s friends and contemporaries. Hirst bought from his contemporaries before he could afford it or they had made much of a mark. which he then positioned so high that many visitors missed them altogether. Anya Gallaccio[12]. as an impoverished undergraduate in the late 1980s. Gary Hume[13]. He also painted his first spot paintings. he is seeking to reconcile the conflicts his intervention set in train. chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. One outcome may be more controversy – over the impact of Newport Street on a rare pocket of inner London that has largely resisted gentrification. by returning to curating. and it wasn’t just with a view to a profit. Fiona Rae remembers Hirst. straight on to a wall. in art and in his own life. But to assume that Hirst’s greatest driver is money is to overlook his passion for art. Angus Fairhurst[11]. dashing off 81 small boxes. and about his motivations in establishing the new. Sarah Lucas[16] and Fiona Rae[17]. but not Hirst.000.” she said in May. assemble the artists and install their pieces. Abigail Lane[15]. Hirst left himself little time to focus on his own work. forming a consortium with two other people to buy three of her paintings for £1. His apparent generosity is likely to be balanced by the increased value of the art shown there. A clip from a 1994 BBC documentary about Damien Hirst and the Freeze exhibition More than a quarter of a century later.html 4/20 . free-to-enter gallery. which he of course owns.

He went to Brixton. and did like three months. The advertising magnate opened a gallery in a disused paint factory on chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. his vision was expansive.’” Soon after that he moved to London. Hirst had learned some of his tricks from an early advocate. because I’d broken in the night before and nicked stuff – paper. I’d have probably got two years or something. pencils.’ And then after that I didn’t do anything bad again. at the ICA. “I got a criminal record for burglary and shoplifting.” says Iwona Blazwick. Internal Affairs[20]. and the police were there doing fingerprints on the windows. He favoured industrial buildings for exhibiting over typically cramped British galleries. he believed. aiming for art college. who in 1991 put on Hirst’s solo show. I just kept denying it. were only interested in artists who were dead.html 5/20 . and eventually they dropped the charges against me and I was like: ‘Thank fuck. and I went to court three times. The disruption to Hirst’s home life triggered a short career in petty crime.” A few months later.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Young British Artists at play in the 1990s – in pictures View gallery Hirst was born in Bristol and brought up in Leeds. and was accused of carrying out a chequebook fraud with a friend. denied it. director of the Whitechapel Gallery. all that kind of stuff – and I remember thinking: ‘Fuck. I didn’t wear gloves. Charles Saatchi. a mechanic. “He didn’t wait for permission from institutions. and his home life was reasonably comfortable until the breakdown of his mother’s marriage to his stepfather. Even then. when he was 12. Museums. and that was the final straw. he started at Goldsmiths[19]. “I went into the art lesson once at school. pens. and it was his first offence.

Hirst’s chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. in 1985. in 1991. and for a decade Hirst and Saatchi enjoyed a symbiotic relationship.000 for Hirst to manufacture his first shark suspended in formaldehyde. then reaped the benefits after Saatchi came to Freeze and started buying and showing lifechanging quantities of their own work. Saatchi put up the £50. (Last year Hirst signed a deal for the memoir[28] with Penguin. to display his private collection.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Boundary Road in St John’s Wood in west London. but says the relationship has improved. Hirst and his friends visited. reportedly for a six-figure sum. titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living[25]. Photograph: Richard Young/Rex Hirst won’t go into the details of the feud. Frank Stella[23] and Cy Twombly[24].) After his rackety childhood.html 6/20 . they are not in regular touch. Damien Hirst with Charles Saatchi in 1997.” Hirst said after Saatchi offloaded most of his Hirsts in a move that not only offended the artist but threatened to depress the market for his work. the writer helping Hirst with his autobiography. A US hedge-fund billionaire called Steven Cohen[27] bought the shark. Donald Judd[22]. each boosting the other’s reputation. Then came a rupture that has never fully healed. but Saatchi has agreed to speak to James Fox. to share in Saatchi’s passion for American artists including Carl Andre[21]. “He only recognises art with his wallet[26].

Newport Street is bigger than Boundary Road.” There’s a walk-in refrigerator at Chalford Place. their dead bodies drift ever deeper along the edges of the installation. an immersive Disneyland of death. Everywhere there are skulls – real.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian relationship with Saatchi appears to have something of a father-son dynamic: a closeness followed by a breach. with amethyst. but big enough for corpses. floors and ceiling. flies breed in one half of a large glass cabinet. and then a rapprochement on changed terms. rebellion and imitation. carved. it took the breath away less as a memento mori than with its supposed price tag of £50m. A funereal ground-floor bedroom is encrusted. a transaction that helped to maintain the market value of all his output. down to the restaurant menus. The books in the bookshelves are united by one feature: they all have the word “death” in the title. chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. “like artists. In his famous 1990 work A Thousand Years[31]. store rooms. but it’s often hard to tell whether he’s engaging with the idea or diminishing its power by turning it into a motif. offices. the fridge seems sinister.html 7/20 . like Hirst himself – the house is a strange mixture of the compelling and the banal. He was part of a consortium that bought the work. gazing out across London from a balcony high on the facade of Newport Street Gallery. the home Hirst sometimes uses when he’s working at the older and smaller of his two Gloucestershire studio complexes. and the handles on a chest of drawers are casts of vertebrae. unseen and still unfinished. yawning emptily. Potato famine-era gravestones (imported from an Irish salvage company) line the floors and showers. “I’ve always wanted a gallery like Saatchi. the wood panelling is decorated with skeletons and butterflies. Death has been the preoccupation of much of his work.” said Hirst.” Hirst declared. In this context. stained-glass and painted. There is no place for a big-name chef. Chalford Place[30] is one of its owner’s most fascinating creations. “All chefs are cunts. the original Boundary Road. Hirst is overseeing every detail of this universe. Like much that Hirst produces – indeed. With 3. And when For the Love of God[32] – Hirst’s platinum skull studded with diamonds and baring human teeth – came on to the market in 2007. a shop and a restaurant.438 sq m rendered by architects Caruso St John[29] into six exhibition spaces. His butterflies are drowning in paint.

But there’s something else a person who successfully obliterates whole segments of his life may find difficult to recall: the reasons for doing so.” Hirst initially resisted the idea of an autobiography because he saw it as an end-of-life activity. Hirst says Fox – who helped Keith Richards[33] to fill in the gaps in his memory that are the inevitable consequence of a life in rock’n’roll – has been plucking anecdotes gleaned from interviews with other sources to prompt Hirst to remember his own past. I think that’s the problem. plans to unveil new work in 2017 – and the process of reconstructing his past has also been slowed by his own deficiencies as a witness to his own life.” said Mat Collishaw. “This is not a normal combination of characteristics. He is now embarked on the process.” His halting attempts to talk about hitting 50 convey a real anxiety. sipping from a mug of redbush tea.html 8/20 . So I guess it’s how to embrace it in some way. You lose your grip before you die. Yoga and his healthy lifestyle might help him to live longer. Collishaw advanced a plausible theory about what drew Hirst to art.” he said. which happens to provide one reason why Hirst may have found drugs and alcohol so tempting: “His mind chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. he has elaborate. “He’s a hooligan and aesthete. you just don’t know where [death] is coming from. but publication isn’t expected any time soon. “You lose your grip anyway. He has a lot on his plate – as well as Newport Street. “If you’re going to get hit by a bus on the way to chemo.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Damien Hirst is a national disgrace Read more People close to Hirst seem just as confused about what drives him as he is himself. if secret. or just to die better.

And it was like I was immortal.html 9/20 . by degrees. warned Hirst he had a problem. Then it became the thing that ostensibly drove him faster. And the work was celebrating. purchased a string of properties in the UK. drooling. launched shops. Making skulls and hacking up dead cows kept death at a distance. and the actor Keith Allen. “It’s like. he wasn’t. “I remember Joe going: ‘Ignore him. Little in his family background might have been expected to tempt him into the gallery in the first place. come and join him for a drink” – a sadder incarnation developed. and maybe the thing with the artwork is that it’s something you just concentrate on for a few moments. Drinking friends such as the musicians Joe Strummer[35] and Alex James.” He added: “For those 20 years.’ And you’re just thinking: ‘Why does that happen?’ And you think: ‘No!’ But you do know. You’d get a phone call from Damien saying he’s in a skip.” chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. I couldn’t keep up really.” I deal with death in art.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian is going a million miles an hour. and suddenly you’re transported into this other realm. “You get to a point at the end of it where people just go. Because if you really think about death.’” Hirst recalled. you’re just unpleasant. but art seems to have brought him muchneeded moments of calm. Mexico and Thailand – including a money pit of a stately home in Gloucestershire called Toddington Manor[34] – and still found time to carouse. in art. always up for fun and doing outrageous things. everything is a celebration. started a publishing company. expansive pleasure-seeker Rae remembers from Goldsmiths – “very funny. still clutching his redbush. not in life. I was totally celebrating. During the boom years of the late 1990s and into the next decade. If you really think about death. You’re spitting at people because you’re so drunk. it makes you inactive Hirst said he remembers gazing awestruck at a blue painting by John Hoyland in Leeds City Art Gallery as a schoolboy. “I deal with death in art. In place of the outgoing.” he said. He’ll go to bed.” Then. Hirst was in perpetual motion. Such feverish activity looks like the behaviour of someone for whom fears of mortality are visceral. ‘Ignore him. it makes you inactive. not in life. He expanded his studio system.

“He seems to wear it quite lightly and everything continues.” says Hirst’s friend.” The machine used to be dirty. going. couldn’t weather the transformation. the artist and writer Danny Moynihan. he finally cleaned up in 2006. referred to as the “pill mines”. a sweat shop – albeit one offering decent wages – of recent art graduates fashioning the pills to place in his medicine cabinets. and without the help of a 12-step programme. staff numbers soared to 250 – with many more businesses in some way dependent on his continued high rate of output. a scraggle of improvised studio spaces. Hirst found himself at the apex of an empire employing between 120 and 160 people – at a high-water mark ahead of a 2012 Tate retrospective[36] of his work.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 00:00 Damien Hirst talks about For the Love of God Despite several false starts. or fulfilling similarly fiddly and repetitive jobs to chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. “You have to keep this fucking thing. this machine. Most recovering addicts face the daunting task of taking greater responsibility for themselves. but it’s a machine. His relationship with Maia Norman. including Hirst. There was one under railway arches that everyone. the mother of his three children.html 10/20 .

including a series of skewered hearts that.” Hirst said. A room designed to create spin paintings stood idle. paintings mixing up corporate logos with political emblems. landscapes fashioned from razor blades. I remember feeling guilty for those people. sometimes several days in a row. day in. That’s why I used to lay on these huge parties. to check on progress. part salon. “Sanding down pills.” The majority of Hirst’s studio employees now toil in the pristine. Hirst’s main studio is all about industry. high-security confines of a vast complex[37] at Dudbridge in Gloucestershire. for example.” She paused: “The chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. but quietly in the background. unlike the original 2005 Kiss of Death[39]. but there are also technicians who know how to deploy formaldehyde. On a chill spring day. a director at Science Ltd. at other times sporadically. What have I done? I’ve created a monster. and many people have been with him for years. everyone wore matching Science Ltd T-shirts. played not as Hirst would listen to it. wordless and focused. involve not real flesh but simulacra. said Jude Tyrrell. Hirst said he drew inspiration from Andy Warhol’s Factory[38]. being increasingly corporate. A former pill miner remembers Hirst as an avuncular presence at one of Science Ltd’s legendary staff parties – before he went to the toilet and returned to launch an unprovoked verbal attack that was all the more startling for his previous friendliness. Different sections of the studio are dedicated to different strands of art carrying the Hirst imprimatur: the butterflies. Staff turnover is low. with buckets of paint lined up ready on a metal walkway above a giant centrifuge. the silence punctured by the scrape of a chair on concrete and rock music. because of Hirst’s yen for long-lost simplicity. ‘God. photorealist “fact” paintings of cancer cells. medicine cabinets and vitrine works. There have been two serious attempts to shrink the roster. “Funny when you go to your own studio and feel guilty.html 11/20 . At one table six people added spots to the spot paintings that in recent years have featured the tiniest spots visible to the naked eye. can we go back to what it was?’ It’s that sense of losing the freedom. day out. sparked partly by worries over cash flow[40] but also. Back to the pub. These days he is a more reliable boss. “We’ve definitely had a few moments where it’s just been so stressful that you just think. but if Warhol’s studio was part production line. Hirst visits the studio.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian create some of the other Hirst products. One Dudbridge employee said Hirst has an attention to fine detail that can be demanding – and that his involvement in the work is intense – but he is courteous. Many of the workers are artists.

I think we all feel a little bit encased by that. seem to have been his desire to spark a new sensation and wrest greater independence. featuring a tiger shark in formaldehyde. collectors eventually became more cautious in a market awash with Hirsts. The auction secured the former. not down. As the gavel fell.” Damien Hirst’s The Kingdom. but the stronger impulses behind the sale. often as personalised commissions: birthday greetings spelled out in butterflies. Hirst is compiling a list of everything he has ever done. Prices for his work. Science Ltd told the authors of the ArtTactic report that the number of Hirsts in existence at that point stood at 6. in 2008. chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat.000 drawings. and 2. at Sotheby’s auction Beautiful Inside My Head Forever. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Hirst did make a half-hearted break for freedom once.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian beast. In 2008. he declared he would be stopping the butterflies and spins[41]. Lehman Brothers was collapsing. the machine. but even its hefty payoff couldn’t buy his liberty. and though the global crisis took a while to reach the wealthiest.html 12/20 . So he geared up. building Dudbridge and keeping the popular lines coming. The two-day event earned him headlines – and £111m[42]. according to a 2013 ArtTactic report[43].000 paintings and sculptures. portraits of the wealthy expensively overlaid in centrifugal splatter. titled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever. This was just before he bypassed his galleries and put up 223 new pieces of his work for sale at auction at Sotheby’s in Old Bond Street. Hirst claimed he wanted to democratise the sale of art. fell back to 2005/2006 levels.

jewellery and artefacts.’” he said. by Damien Hirst. skin partially peeled back to reveal her internal organs in the style of an anatomical teaching model on superhuman scale. Early reactions to this work have been mixed. some of his oldest vitrine works were back for inclusion in this catalogue or for repairs. Photograph: Science Ltd At one end of the Dudbridge building. that is brilliant. when I got to Goldsmiths. suggested showing the work in small batches. The details of the coup de théâtre Hirst envisages for 2017. still under wraps: a trove of sculptures in marble and bronze. He has always borrowed freely – or. And then. under the sightless gaze of The Virgin Mother[44]. Critics tore into the last exhibition of Hirst’s new work[45] at the White Cube gallery in London in 2012 – which featured paintings made by Hirst’s own hand that relied heavily on ideas from painters he admires. his 10-metre-high statue of a pregnant woman. in a galleried. like the pieces themselves. ‘Fuck. I realised that you don’t need to do that. remain shrouded. many of them apparently mottled with corals and barnacles. filched. Jay Jopling. “I remember seeing Picasso’s bull’s head made from a bike handlebars and seat. amazing to be that original. The upper gallery was a holding area for his newest work. and photo-realist paintings marking a departure from Hirst’s blunter confrontations with mortality and money. his long-term gallerist.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian Beautiful Lying in the Grass Falling into the Sky. sparking Hirst to think big instead.html 13/20 . Hirst fields such allegations rather than ducking them. some would say. and thinking. I remember just chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. double-height hangar. “And I thought that’s what you’ve got to do when you’re an artist: you’ve got to come up with something like that.

and Cyrus. I remember thinking: ‘Steal everything. I can make great art. this time at an event hosted by Jopling.’ Because it’s all been done already. Cassius. recalling a bash hosted by Ukrainian oligarch and art collector Victor Pinchuk[49]. I realised you don’t need to be original.” Hirst told an interviewer in 2004. but works of their specific time. A free-standing cube revealed itself as a machine for creating spin drawings – smaller. who slashed his canvases. and a table piled with colour. ‘Don’t try and be original. So they understand everything. less messy siblings to spin paintings. when McCartney performed magic chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. but it is a bronze by Gavin Turk[48]. “The only advantage you’ve got is being in the now. a feast of inks. 9. A rumpled sleeping bag in Hirst’s front hall adds to the impression of domesticity. 20.” Hirst’s family residence is surprisingly like other homes of the wealthy in a cosseted stretch of suburban south-west London: pocket-sized gym.’ then you go. “People are visually educated through being sold things. Jokes bled into discussions of mortality.” The image was left hanging as Hirst jumped to another encounter with McCartney. Connor.html 14/20 . was inspired by[46] the Italian conceptual artist Lucio Fontana[47]. Anecdotes encircled fragments of anecdotes. Watching a spin drawing in progress is like talking to its creator: simultaneously dizzying and hypnotic. “and they got me. leading the way to an open-plan kitchen and dining room. just try and make art. ‘Fucking hell. 15.” At Goldsmiths.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian thinking: ‘Steal everything. His 1983 campaign for Silk Cut cigarettes. which impressed Hirst.’ It’s all been done British advertising blossomed in the decade ahead of the YBAs. then depressed a foot pedal to spin the board while adding pigments. Once you say. today. A debate on the merits of the Rolling Stones versus the Beatles (Hirst is a Beatles man) elicited vivid vignettes. “They had this weird fucking Ukrainian morris dancer. marker pens and crayons. Hirst pronounced that it was time to spin. Jay [Jopling] and Paul McCartney up doing this fucking dance.” He insisted this does not produce copies. He lives here with his sons. Hirst fixed a piece of paper to a circular board housed inside the cube to contain spatter. their mother remains at the house the couple shared in Devon until their 2012 split. and at the centre of both phenomena was Charles Saatchi.” he said. small indoor pool and a breakfast bar overlooking a neat lawn. “I think the public in England is incredibly visually educated because of the complexity of advertising in the last 30 years.’ because you’ve suddenly got the freedom – the same that advertisers have got to take from anywhere to communicate an idea.

Hirst spoke fondly of his former life and retains a soft spot for hellraisers.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian tricks for Hirst’s sons. And that’s exciting. Hoyland drank a lot and made chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. even shagging”). remains an obsession for Hirst. Though praising the rewards of sobriety (“everything is better. “All my favourite artists from the past.” He riffled through a monograph on John Bellany. like the Beatles – the way they totally reinvented themselves and changed into something else. the way they move forwards is what interests me … And the way they stop being one thing.html 15/20 .” Control. Pissed as a fart. But it works. Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 00:00 ‘Never let money get in the way of an idea’: Damien Hirst walks through his Tate Modern show in 2012 A different kind of sleight of hand drew Hirst to the Beatles. then admired a late-era work. he said: their redemptive ability to reinvent themselves. not least John Hoyland. He’s having to lose it and get it back. “Look at that. pointing out how the artist’s brushwork and composition deteriorated as his alcoholism intensified. pissed out of his mind. and its loss. You can see he’s taken months painting it.

complicated sculptures. But this was not a prime factor in the decision to give Hoyland the first slot at Newport Street. In other respects Hoyland appeared a kind of anti-Hirst. and is only now coming to an end. painting on as large a scale as US abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko[50] and Barnett Newman[51] at a time when London galleries couldn’t accommodate canvases of that size. in turn raising the value of Hirst’s collection. to manage the estate. Another reason is that if there are any problems with the space. Hirst owns more than enough Hoylands to stage Newport Street’s opening show.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian big art. according to Hirst. For the first six chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. “I like the idea of pointing out in the art world things that have not been seen or noticed. “cheap for what they are”. despite being “flat broke … For very understandable reasons Coke felt there were certain things that should be part of the work. And he couldn’t do it. Photograph: The John Hoyland Estate/Prudence Cumming Hoyland’s paintings are undoubtedly beautiful and.html 16/20 .” Now Hirst is seeking to reassert Hoyland’s position. I didn’t want any big. setting up a standing order to buy his paintings. providing a funding stream that has helped Hoyland’s widow. The exhibition is likely to boost interest in the artist. The arrangement continued after Hoyland’s death. by John Hoyland. Hirst supported the older man. Hoyland’s son Jeremy said. He once turned down a commission to make a painting for Coca-Cola’s London headquarters. Jeremy Hoyland remembers a phone call from his father after the artists’ first meeting: “I think I might have underestimated [Hirst].” During the last years of Hoyland’s life. Beverley HeathHoyland. Hirst said. He started by befriending his onetime opponent. Scando 2_10_80. so he didn’t. a purist about his work and hopeless with money.

com/artanddesign/2015/feb/27/damien-hirst-set-back-artby-100-years-says-henry-moores-daughter 4.theguardian. This may. as to open his gallery – and his collection – as widely as possible. http://www. For updates follow @NPSGallery[52].com/artanddesign/damienhirst 6. it’s great to have a painting show. http://www.html 17/20 . “He was always insistent that you must have free entry. 5.theguardian. http://www. “He wants people to have the experience he did.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian months. in front of that blue Hoyland in Leeds. to recreate the moment he first 3. but is relishing the prospect of determining other people’ Newport Street Gallery opens to the public on 8 October 2015 with John Hoyland: Power Stations (Paintings 1964-1982).damienhirst. newportstreetgallery. He has run up against the limits of the control he can exercise over his own realities. in the end. And then if you have airconditioning problems.” Hirst is rediscovering the powers of a curator – to draw outsiders into his vision. when he had absolutely nothing but could walk into a gallery and have this totally transformative experience. or a leaky roof … ” Newport Street itself is likely to appreciate sharply as the gallery transforms the area. http://www. Local planning and development bodies saw Hirst’s arrival in Lambeth as cause for rejoicing. really simple. rapt. prove his greatest talent. there has been grumbling. http://www.theguardian.theguardian. Yet Hirst’s aspiration appears not so much to deploy art as a tool of gentrification. but as affluent visitors begin streaming into the area and hipster coffee shops displace businesses eking a living under the railway arches opposite the gallery.htm chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/[53] Follow the Long Read on Twitter: @gdnlongread[54] Links 1.” said Collishaw. 27. Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian 7. chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. 24. http://www. 11. 14.artcornwall.theguardian. 13.php 20. 10. http://www. http://www. http://www. 23.theguardian. http://uk.html 18/20 .html 8.htm 18. http://www.theguardian. http://www. https://www. http://www. http://www. http://www. 45.jpg 35.theguardian. http://www.art1 43.theguardian.rundellassociates.alastairmcintosh. 44.html 19/20 .com/the-kiss-of-death 40. http://www. http://www.theguardian. http://www.theguardian. 49. http://www.­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. 42. 29. 31. http://www.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian 28. 46. http://www. http://www.theguardian.theguardian.theguardian. 37. 36. 39. http://www. 30. http://www.theguardian.carusostjohn.

com/ 51.html 20/20 .newportstreetgallery. Get a free Evernote account to save this article and view it later on any device. http://www.theguardian. Create account chrome­extension://iooicodkiihhpojmmeghjclgihfjdjhj/front/in_isolation/reformat. 53. https://twitter.theguardian. 52.7/13/2015 Damien Hirst: ‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’ | Catherine Mayer | Art and design | The Guardian are-they-which-side-are-on 50.

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