The other day I was reading about a controversy involving Damien Hirst, and it got me thinking about the role of the artist in the creation of his or her artworks. Due to high demand for his work, Hirst relies heavily on his band of assistants to execute his ideas, sometimes barely involving himself in the constructions of his pieces at all. In the 90s, Hirst's series of spot paintings, which consisted of symmetrical lines of colored dots, were selling for a lot of money. But Hirst only painted about 5 of them, leaving the other 300 or so to his band of assistants. Hirst was criticized for not being involved enough in the creation of his work, but he responded by saying that, as the person who conceptualizes the pieces, he deserved the artistic credit (and the paycheck), even though his assistants did most of the work.
This isn't a new debate; sculptors throughout history have relied upon the technical expertise of artisans to carve their marble or cast their bronze. As a sculptor, doing 100% of the work yourself would make it difficult to produce enough work to maintain a successful career, but do collectors have the right to expect a certain level of involvement from the artist to whom they are writing a check?
What's your opinion? Do you believe that creative ideas make you an artist, or does an artist need to be involved in the execution of those ideas? Click "Comment" below to give us your thoughts, and take the poll below!