He’s rumored to be the world’s richest artist, but recently, Damien Hirst has been accused of something shocking.
When it comes to Hirst’s work, “shocking” isn’t exactly a new descriptor. For the past 30 years, he’s been creating art that deals primarily in death.
Over the span of his career, Hirst has used 913,450 creature carcasses in his work. From cows to sheep, butterflies to sharks, his installations display animals and insects both in their entirety and cut in half, a jarring spectacle known as “vivisection.”
The issue, raised by the RSPCA, is not that Hirst uses animal carcasses — it’s about how he obtains them. According to them, many of these animals did not die naturally. They were murdered in the name of art.
Caroline Goldstein, a spokesperson for Artnet, said, “Some of the animals were dead before Hirst came around, while others met ends tailored to their artistically conceived resting places.” Call me crazy, but I don’t find anything artistic about killing innocent animals, like this sheep in the aptly named piece called “Away From the Flock.”