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Damien Hirst fires back at critic, compares art to currency

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While the debate of art versus commerce has probably plagued creative types since shortly after someone first offered a steak in exchange for viewing a cave painting, such considerations aren’t an issue once you reach the level of celebrated U.K. artist Damien Hirst.

Known for such attention-grabbing works as a shark suspended in formaldehyde as well as high-profile collaborations with Blur and Eddie Izzard in the ‘90s, Hirst recently came under attack from critic Julian Spalding, who wrote a pointedly titled short book, ‘Con Art -- Why You Ought to Sell Your Damien Hirsts While You Can.’

In a piece reported Monday by Reuters, Hirst playfully fired back at Spalding, who described Hirst’s works as ‘worthless financially.’ ‘I think art’s the greatest currency in the world. Gold, diamonds, art -- I think they are equal,’ Hirst countered while speaking to journalists outside the Tate Modern gallery, which is hosting a Hirst retrospective that opens this week. ‘I think it’s a great thing to invest in.’

Hirst added, ‘It’s like, you say, ‘Sell your Hirst.’ I say, ‘Don’t sell your Hirsts, hang on to them.’' Hirst then recommended consideration of recent numbers, which as of last week included an auction where Hirst’s doodle of his famous shark fetched $7,500. The drawing was given to a chauffeur as a tip.

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Numbers, once again, don’t lie.

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-- Chris Barton


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