Hatin' how they love them Youngins: Open Thread
To get the ball rolling, though, let me direct you to the flip side of all this. From the Guardian:
Yes, many artists would still trade places with Damien, but I hope this example prompts folks to question what exactly is it the system isn't giving them that they want so badly. Unless it's simply the freedom to make their art, I'm not so sympathetic.
At 41, Damien Hirst is no longer a 'young British artist'. So what should we call him? A middle-aged businessman? He still pickles the odd shark, but he seems every bit as interested in his £3m country house, his £100m fortune and the danger that it all might slip away. [...]
Damien Hirst: master of all he surveys; worth, so he claims, £100m; the most powerful man in the art world (according to ArtReview magazine, anyway); property magnate; collector. Artist.
It is 18 years since he attracted attention as the Goldsmith's student who curated Freeze - a show of work by his mates that demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit of a bunch of artists who refused to hang around waiting to be discovered.
These days he employs 65 people, including a full-time business manager, Frank Dunphy, who has become famous in his own right. When Hirst speaks, in his curlicued, erratic, scuttling sentences, he nearly always says "we", not "I". "Well, it's such a big operation," he says. "I tend to mean me and Frank. Or me and Science." (Science is the company that handles his affairs.) The "most powerful" tag, sensibly, he laughs off - "It's Top of the Pops, isn't it? It's funny. When you've been number one you can only go down, can't you? We were once the 'most invited' in Tatler. But we never go anywhere."
And yet despite his army, his stately home in Gloucestershire, his land in Mexico, his properties in Lambeth and Devon, his art's seemingly unassailable market value (Away From the Flock, Divided, 1995, sold last month for £1.8m, his saleroom record), and his sheer celebrity, he does not feel safe. There's Hirst's old friend, fear of death, to contend with. And then there is all that money - burdensome, bringer of both responsibility and distraction, horribly fragile. "The whole thing could fall apart with a war," he says. "I always think it can be taken away from you at any moment. People talk about safe investments, but Lloyd's Bank could collapse. Banks have collapsed in our lifetime." [emphasis mine]
Anyway...fire away. Anecdotes are always good.