Controversial artist Damien Hirst came under serious attacks recently after appropriating a Nigerian sculpture without giving credit to the original artist/owners but he's done it many times!
Taking inspiration from someone else's artwork for educational benefits and personal development is fine as long as it is presented to the public clearly identifying the source of inspiration but plagiarising another artist work is totally unacceptable and it's the reason Damien Hirst has been constantly called out!
When you plagiarize, you aren't giving credit to the original mastermind behind the work and you getting financial benefits from it, which in most cases supersedes the artist's which isn't fair.
Here's a well laid out difference between copying someone else's work and plagiarising.
Hirst obviously falls into the category of those who go about replicating other people's work, making money out of it and of course, not referencing the curator of these works. Hirst has been accused of plagiarism several times and well In 2006, Hirst is quoted as saying "Lucky for me, when I went to art school we were a generation where we didn't have any shame about stealing other people's ideas. You call it a tribute".
Hirst has been called out on several occasions for plagiarism but these 10 times especially stand out in his career:
1. Hirst's latest exhibition in his Venice show is a replica of Ife sculpture, a sculpture that belongs to the Yoruba kingdom of Nigeria, without referencing the culture nor the original curator of the sculpture.
2. Sometime last year, Canadian artist, Colleen Wolstenholme filed a complaint at a federal court in Manhattan alleging that Hirst is responsible for “willfully and wrongfully copying, creating, manufacturing, distributing, and/or selling” works that infringe her copyright under Canadian law.
3. The image of a crucified sheep, exhibited as an artwork in 1987 by John LeKay, was plagiarised by Hirst in a solo exhibition he did back in 2005.
4. Another example of Hirst’s imitative act was the work of Lori Precious, who had exhibited kaleidoscopic designs made from deceased butterflies a decade before Hirst started making them also from deceased butterflies.
5. In 2003, Damien Hirst created a Dove painting titled “Spirit” (right), which is almost identical to a Christmas card from the 80’s.
6. One of Hirst’s exhibits in the 1996 Gagosian show was an installation of a ball held aloft in a jet of air. Hans Haacke made an installation of a ball held aloft by a jet of air in 1964. Haacke used a white ball. Hirst used a coloured ball.
7. Hirst made Hymn, an enlarged version of an anatomical torso model from Humbrol. One of LeKay’s found object works from 1990 was Yin and Yang, an anatomical torso model from Carolina Science back in 1999.
8. Sometime in 1993, LeKay produced a series of 25 skulls, some made out of paradichlorobenzene and one made from soap covered with Swarovski crystals. LeKay says he mentioned the idea of a skull covered in diamonds to Bonakdar. In 2007, Hirst made a skull covered in diamonds. LeKay used a title, Spiritus Callidus, a name for the devil. Hirst called his For the Love of God.
9. In 1989, Eddie Saunders exhibited a preserved shark on a wall in his J.D. Electrical shop in the YBA heartland of Shoreditch. In 1991, Hirst exhibited a preserved shark in a tank in Charles Saatchi’s art gallery in St John’s Wood.
10. In the 1993 Venice Bienniale, Hirst exhibited Mother and Child Divided, a cow and a calf bisected lengthways which was a protype of LeKay’s gift of the Carolina Science catalogue manifested as a dramatic development.
Hirst who is known for this act for a long time now defended his work back in 1995 with the rationale, “It’s very easy to say, ‘I could have done that,’ after someone’s done it. But I did it. You didn’t. It didn’t exist until I did it.”
And some time back in 2009, in an interview with Anthony Haden when asked “Other artists have attacked you for using their ideas. John LeKay said the skulls were his idea. John Armleder … was doing spot paintings. And some say Walter Robinson did the spin paintings first.” Hirst’s tribute was: “Fuck ’em all!”