Damien Hirst says criticism is 'to be expected'

2 April 2012

Controversial artist Damien Hirst says he expects his work to be criticised and that he does not let it affect him.

"You've got to ignore it," he told the BBC's Will Gompertz. "I've had negative reactions all through my career.

"I try not to take the nice things that people say seriously," he continued. "Then you can avoid the bad things."

The 46-year-old Bristolian was speaking ahead of a retrospective at Tate Modern in London featuring highlights from his phenomenally successful career.

The exhibition features such works as his diamond skull, titled For The Love Of God, and the infamous shark pickled in formaldehyde, also known as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

The retrospective, Hirst's first in the UK, opens to the public on Wednesday as part of the London 2012 Festival.

It launches amid accusations from Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman and others that he is more concerned with money than art.

Last month, art critic Julian Spalding suggested Hirst's pieces had "no artistic content" and would soon be "worthless financially".

The artist - one of the "YBAs" or Young British Artists to come to prominence in the late 1980s - has also faced criticism for using assistants to complete or realise his work.


David Hockney made comments in January which were assumed to be a criticism of Hirst's "production line" technique, although he later issued a statement stating he had not meant to "imply criticism of another artist's working practices".

Speaking to the BBC, Hirst admitted that selling his work was important but rejected suggestions he was "a money-grabbing show-off".

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