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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Hirst turns on patron Saatchi
Damien Hirst
Hirst won the 1995 Turner Prize
Artist Damien Hirst has launched an attack on modern art patron Charles Saatchi saying he "only recognises art with his wallet".

He makes the comment in a book to be published in October, Gordon Burns' On The Way To Work, in which he talks frankly about his life and work.

"Charles Saatchi believed he could affect art values with buying power," Hirst says in the book.


People start believing they're important and Damien has started to believe he's important

Modern Painters editor
"And he still believes he can do it. That's what he tries to do."

Hirst also accuses Saatchi of arrogance, saying: "He tried to buy Midland Bank. And then he suddenly tried to control art."

Charles Saatchi was an early champion of Hirst and has bought pieces by many young British artists.

Hirst's attack on Saatchi, who bought one of the artist's sculptures, Hymn, for 1m in 2000, will surprise many who have observed the patron's buying policy - and feel that he has been too close to Hirst and other young artists.

Karen Wright, editor of Modern Painters, defends Saatchi from criticisms from both sides.

'Admirable'

"Saatchi doesn't buy indiscriminately - he has a very good eye," she told BBC News Online.

"He buys in mass, but he buys early and I think that's an admirable quality in a patron.

Charles Saatchi
Saatchi: "Has a good eye"
"People start believing they're important and Damien has started to believe he's important.

"He is important, he has this iconic significance, but his criticisms of Saatchi are wrong."

In the book, Hirst also has sharp words for another champion of contemporary British art, Tate Modern director Nicholas Serota.

"I'm not Nick Serota's barrel-organ monkey," he is quoted as saying.

The book is also said to quote the artist extensively on his turbulent life and his experiences with drink and drugs.

See also:

01 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Mystery woman finds hidden Hirst
03 Apr 00 | UK
Art Hirst and foremost
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