Now, the Guardian reports that Hirst is laying off studio assistants:
On Thursday, up to 17 of the 22 people who make the pills for Hirst’s drug cabinet series were told their contracts were not being renewed, according to two sources close to Science Ltd, Hirst’s main art-producing company. Another three who make his butterfly paintings were also told they were surplus to requirements. It is thought that amounts to approximately half of the London-based artists who work for Hirst. They are paid about £19,000 a year, sources said.
Hirst’s people explain the move as a product of his announcement before the auction that he would no longer make several classes of work.
(Science, Ltd.’s response and more after the jump.)
Yesterday Jude Tyrrell, a director of Science Ltd, confirmed jobs were going [ . . . ] “As previously stated by Damien, he is finishing a number of bodies of works which is why temporary contracts (fixed term) have not been renewed. We have to be mindful of the current economic climate and how this may affect us in the future.” In July, Hirst said that he would stop making the spin and butterfly paintings, plus the medicine cabinets – a decision that was welcomed by many in the art world who worried about overproduction of these series.
This is the kind of thing that can easily be turned into a story that hides reality beneath our tabloid desire for cause-and-effect and comeuppance. Hirst made a somewhat irked comment about a large recent painting that failed to sell at Phillips being over-priced. That was turned into a declaration that all of his art was over-priced which would have been pretty cold and reckless considering many of those who bought at his London auction in September still had to pay and take delivery of their works.
Recession Reaches Hirst Studios (The Guardian)