Saturday, 9 November 2013

Damien Hirst: Plagiarist

Damien Hirst has always been a deliberately controversial artist and one could say that the whole basis of his work is to provoke. Pickled animals and so forth, outrageously expensive items, sausages, a beach ball, ashtrays, bits of junk stuck together in a frame, and many more. It seems all he has to do is put it all together nicely and give it a weird or clever name and people will lap it up. Fair enough - whether or not you or I agree that this is art is irrelevant: he says it is, his customers agree and they buy it. *
But I think we may have rumbled him and his 'Spot Paintings'.
He's made squillions out of these. Moreover, he employs underlings to churn them out for him and he's flogged them for up to $3.5 million. But he pinched the idea from an unknown and no doubt underpaid designer at the Clarvan Corporation (see picture). They called the pattern 'Mardi Gras' and it was used on a variety of kitchen products manufactured using 'Vinylite' plastic from the Bakelite Corporation, part of Union Carbide. Perhaps Mr Hirst is making an ironic post-modernist statement. Or not. But luckily for Mr Hirst the Clarvan Corporation is now defunct otherwise he might be facing legal action for copyright infringement.
[* for an erudite discussion on what art might or might not be, check out Grayson Perry's Reith Lectures]

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