Art feud: Hockney takes on Hirst over use of assistants

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The painter David Hockney, who was recently honored by Queen Elizabeth with the Order of Merit, has put up a poster at a new exhibition at the Royal Academy in London that says, in part, all of the work in it was “made by the artist himself.”

In an interview, Hockney is said to have included that statement as a direct indictment against the work of another art superstar, Damien Hirst, who uses assistants to produce work that is credited under his name.

The AP has the story here.

Richard Dorment in the Telegraph in London weighs in with an opinion piece that says Hockney is well aware of the use of assistants throughout the history of art, but that:

When Hockney notes that in his forthcoming show at the Royal Academy “all the works were made by the artist himself, personally” he is teasing a younger artist who probably deserves it and can certainly take it.

It’s what he said later in the interview that I find so moving. “I used to point out, at art school you can teach the craft; it’s the poetry you can’t teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft.’’ He’s saying that students used to be taught how to draw perfectly at the expense of their individuality. Now scores of students graduate from art colleges believing that everything they do or touch or say can be labelled a work of art but they couldn’t draw a rabbit if you held a gun to their heads. There you have it: the difficulty of teaching art in a nutshell.

What do you think?


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