This is not the first time Damien Hirst has come under fire for copying another artist's work, but artist Jim Starr's claim that the formaldehyde king plagiarized his depiction of Medusa for the cover of British GQ's 25th anniversary—a sexy shot of Rihanna ringed in serpents—won't get much traction in court.
Starr told the Evening Standard that his work first appeared in a Dreweatts auction catalogue alongside Hirst's work three years ago. “I am aware that artists are all sort of drawing from the same well but I think I know when my work has inspired someone else’s,” Starr said.
Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, points out how ridiculous Starr's claim is. "I suspect plagiarism claims are redundant when artists have been depicting something for more than 2,500 years," he writes, noting that if anyone can lay claim to Medusa iconography, it's probably Caravaggio because of his well-known painting of the Gorgon on a shield.
Jones uses this foolish controversy to attack Hirst's cover as a whole:
So the charge against Hirst is not plagiarism—it is sheer artistic ordinariness. Neither he nor Starr have added anything original to the image of Medusa. The GQ cover is as insipid as some late Victorian mythic erotica. Compared with the great Medusas of the classical and baroque ages, Rihanna with snaky hair is just plain dull.
Innovative or not, Hirst once again created an image with enough shock value to create a spectacle. For good or bad, that seems to be his style.
[via The Guardian]