Damien Hirst has begun burning thousands of his own paintings in public, and critics are calling for his arrest. The artist has been accused of a crime he did not commit.
A British artist known for his controversial works has burned thousands of his own original works in public in protest against a proposal that could see artworks in public collections being auctioned online in advance of their public display. Damien Hirst has begun burning thousands of his paintings in public, but critics say the protest raises serious concerns over his practice of auctioning works “offline”. The proposal, which would see works in the public collections of major museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, auctioned online, has been the subject of international debate. Hirst argues that this move would lead to a collapse of copyright law, while those who back the movement say it is an important way to bring art to people who don’t normally access it. The artist argues that the sale of works would not in fact affect copyright, but he has been accused of copyright infringement by his former dealer Richard Avedon and by other critics who say the move undermines the value and marketability of his work.
In the US, for example, where he has established a following among hipsters through his famous “wall installations”, the move was criticised by the American Copyright Alliance. Richard Avedon, who worked with Hirst for a time in the 1980s, accused him of “a crime against humanity”. The artist fired back at Avedon on his Facebook page and threatened a legal action against those who were linking to his message. “I feel that Richard Avedon is a bully and that he should be ashamed to have the power to bully anyone,” read the message. “I think it’s disgusting that he is getting the public’s dollars to make his art and now that the public is seeing his sick, sick art, he doesn’t give a damn about what they think!” he concluded. “In my humble opinion, he’s a bully who shouldn’t be allowed to continue to do what he does. He is a self promoter and he is a narcissist. You