Hirst is just another symptom of the hype, the hubris, and the money…

Jerry Saltz in The Village Voice:

SaltzThe 31 paintings in Damien Hirst’s sad new show at Gagosian are not paintings at all; or rather, they’re generic-to-bad photo-realist efforts. Any semi-adept student or average commercial artist could have made them. Many do. But this isn’t what makes Hirst’s paintings sad; it only makes them ordinary and academic.

A team of assistants executed these works, although the gallery is quick to point out that “Damien worked on every one.” Whatever. The paintings are proficient but inane. What’s sad about Hirst’s new show is that this rebel of 1988 (when he curated the legendary “Freeze” exhibition in London), this grandfather of old-school British shock tactics and entrepreneurial razzmatazz, this mini-mogul who has the means to make images of anything he wants in any style at all—and who not long ago made the extraordinary Armageddon, a monochrome painting composed entirely of dead flies—this artist chose to render such run-of-the-mill sensationalist subjects in such run-of-the-mill ways. This truculent pumpkin, once so adept at failing in flamboyant ways, has gone from beery bluster to blowsy bathos.

More here.