In a story as old as the origins of art, when popular cave painters were lambasted by members of the cave-dwelling community for hiring apprentice cave-painters to fill out their paintings of horses and deer, the most influential living British painter David Hockney has very publicly attacked the richest living (British) artist Damien Hirst for outsourcing his dot paintings to assistants. The feud comes as Hockney preps a retrospective at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and Hirst stages a takeover of every Gagosian location to exhibit all his dot paintings.
The posters for Hockney’s Royal Academy of Arts exhibition David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture (January 21-April 9) assert: “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally.” And, just to be clear, in a radio interview over the weekend Hockney confirmed that the statement was directed at Hirst, the Independent reports, specifically for his reliance on studio assistants for making his many, many dot paintings. “It’s a little insulting to craftsmen, skilful craftsmen,” Hockney said.
Hirst, who must be busy shuttling between Gagosian’s 11 locations around the globe hanging his dots, has yet to respond to Hockney’s comment. But back in 2007 he said of the multicolored dot paintings: “As soon as I sold one, I used the money to pay people to make them. They were better at it than me. I get bored. I get very impatient.” Those assistant-painted dots will be on view at Gagosian’s three Manhattan locations from January 12 to February 18.