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EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH

Edward Lucie-Smith is not affiliated with Stuckism. These are unique texts received directly from him and reproduced here with his permission to preserve material which would otherwise not be available.

On Damien Hirst's return to painting

My feeling has always been that Damien has always had much more to offer than Dame Tracey and the rest. In her case an eventual Damehood is surely inevitable, to add to the fact that she is already a Royal Academician. One can't see DH casting his lot in with the Establishment in quite that way, though showing at the Wallace Collection may have been a tactical mistake. It has damaged his street cred, however much publicity it generated.

Damien is very much attuned to the winds of change, and if you look around you will see that many much younger artists, undoubtedly cutting edge, are returning to painting. A lot of the time they make very small paintings, as a kind of rebuke to the rhetoric of the immediate past. DH clearly senses where all this is going. He knows that, to remain in the forefront, he probably has to close down his factory and make work with a fully personal imprint. And, all credit to him, he has not been afraid to do some of his learning in public. His relationship with Francis Bacon strikes me as being rather like that of Jacob wrestling with the Angel. It's not just mindless discipleship - it's a real struggle. You will recall that Jacob was more or less victorious in the end, though he came away from it with a lame leg.

In other words Damien is not really a naturally fluent painter - CÚzanne, certainly to begin with, wasn't fluent either. But he has the balls to make it work for him.

Email 24.11.09

On Mark Wallinger's State Britain

If the originator of the Peace Camp outside Parliament had gone to Tate Britain and said "Hey folks, I'd like to do a duplicate of my deeply significant heartfelt installation right here in your nice museum" - what would their answer have been? Without a doubt, "Go away, you crazy old git."

Exclusive statement on this site 17.1.06. Read the rest of it here.

The end of a cycle

"Good article - measured and not excited and abusive. [Is Serota Dead in the Water?] What we are seeing right now is the end of a cycle. Everyone knows that the 1990s situation is over; no-one knows what happens next. The Turner Prize [the artistic equivalent of Celebrity Big Brother] is dead on its feet [unlike the real Celebrity Big Brother]. The reason is that the participants are no longer mini-celebrities hoping to become much bigger celebrities, they are nonentities who don't excite the public at all and don't even excite journalists much. Any controversy is simply part of a ritual - going through the motions. Saatchi has clearly lost direction and has probably lost his bottle as well.

"The great ironic art event of this coming year will be the display of artworks from Damien Hirst's own art collection at the Serpentine - and I'm sure Hirst, who is bright, is aware of it. It's an Up Yours, Move Over Charlie Boy, You Made Me But Now I'm Bigger Than You Are situation. The question is whether Hirst can sustain the whole thing financially - he has embarked on a hugely expensive path with his vast new mansion and made himself extremely vulnerable to any financial downturn as well as any change of taste. The Japanese stock market had an enormous crash very recently - down 7% at one point. The Iran situation suggests there may soon be an oil crisis.

"Meanwhile the art world and the fashion world have become symbiotic to an extent that hasn't been the case since the heyday of the Paris Salon under Napoleon III's Second Empire. If you remember, the biggest newsmakers about the last Serpentine Gallery party - now, together with Sir Elton's charity ball, one of the two or three biggest social events of the year - were Paris Hilton's presence and her frock. With that alone I rest my case"

Email, Jan 2006.

On Stuckism.com

"one of the largest, most international and most active art sites on the internet"
- Art Review (Nov 2004)

On Charles Saatchi

"Now he has begun to rely on the intuitions of those who are officially his enemies... the Stuckism movement"
- Art Review (Nov 2004)

Links
Edward Lucie-Smith web site


Edward Lucie-Smith (left) at the Go West show, Spectrum London gallery, October 2006.
Paintings: Joe Machine (centre), Charles Thomson (right). Photo: Marian Mestanek.

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