Artist Hockney targets Hirst in row over methods

Tue Jan 3, 2012 12:22pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - British artist David Hockney has criticized the methods of compatriot Damien Hirst, who does not personally produce many works attributed to him.

Hockney, 74, said that a sign displayed at his forthcoming show at London's Royal Academy reading "All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally," was partly aimed at Hirst.

"I used to point out at art school, you can teach the craft, it's the poetry you can't teach," Hockney told the Radio Times in an interview published on Tuesday.

"But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft."

Hockney quoted a Chinese saying that to paint "you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won't do."

Hirst, one of the most commercially successful artists of his generation, is best known for animals suspended in formaldehyde and spot canvases, featuring rows of different colored spots.

He employs assistants to produce the spot works, and a recent New York Times article said Hirst created just five of an estimated 1,400 spot canvases in existence.

A spokeswoman said Hirst was out of the country and not available for comment.

Later this month the 11 Gagosian galleries around the world will stage exhibitions of Hirst's spot paintings, which can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars each at auction.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)