Hirst paintings smudged by British critics

Damien Hirst, once the enfant terrible of the British art world, has had his recent exhibition of paintings sensationally smudged by critics, with the fiercest comments reserved for the centrepiece – a picture of a “typical” house.

One of London’s most traditional art galleries, best known for housing works by the likes of Velazquez and Titian, will show “No Effort Made” – a collection of 25 paintings created by the artist, the centrepiece of which being “My Best Ever House” – Hirst’s “typical” English dwelling and garden, replete with flowers on the lawn and a tree in the corner.

The sun shines brightly on Hirst’s country house, though unfortunately several critics have put something of a dampener on the artist’s efforts, branding them “paltry”, “pathetic” and “something that a 3-year-old could easily muster”.

“The paintings are dreadful, odious and amateurish,” wrote a commentator in the Times newspaper. “The best of the bunch – if you can really describe it as that – shows a picture of a ‘typical’ house – at least, according to Hirst. In Hirst’s world, houses apparently have four windows on the front and a door in the bottom-middle with a windy path leading up to it. That’s all well and good until you notice that the “pansies” on the lawn are taller than the front door. And what the hell are flowers doing in the middle of the grass anyway? Surely they should be out of the way, perhaps to the side of the garden in a flower bed or in large terracotta pots by the door. One can only hope this is a post-ironic joke of some kind.”

In the Guardian, a critic concluded: “At its worst, Hirst’s drawing just looks amateurish and adolescent. His brushwork lacks that oomph and panache that makes you believe in the painter’s lies. Honestly, does he really expect us to believe that the sky just suddenly ends like that? What is supposed to occupy that huge gap between the ‘sky’ and the ground? Is it some kind of anti-matter, perhaps? The contents of Hirst’s mind? Hirst’s sheer chutzpah presumably heralds the dawn of some kind of post-post-contemporary artistic movement of which we were previously unaware – patheticism, perhaps?”

Sarah Crompton in the Daily Telegraph said the paintings initially look “dazzling” until they are seen close-up: “The problems with the exhibition begin when you study the paintings themselves. If you squint they can appear vaguely acceptable from a distance, but under scrutiny his compositions fall apart, particularly his centrepiece, the so-called “My Best Ever House”. One feels compelled to ask on just which planet does the sun have four long yellow spikes emanating from both sides? One also has to question the mind of someone who believes that a tree is a straight brown stick of uniform thickness with a sort of crude green candyfloss atop. With his typical post-arrogance, Hirst depicts himself in this schmaltzy scene as being taller than the entire bottom-level of his ‘house’ – worse still, his head is the same size as his body. One can only assume that Keith Allen was allowed some involvement in the conception of this sorry display.”

Hirst yesterday refused to comment on press reaction to his latest exhibition, apart from to say that he found watercolours “difficult to use”.

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