With the Hockney exhibition at the RA just about to finish and the Hirst at the Tate just about to begin, these two great artists have been on my mind quite a lot recently. Not least because of the extensive coverage in the UK press, some of which has been quite vicious.
My view is that both these artists are revolutionary, ground-breaking, and both will be remembered in 100 years because of their respective paradigm-shifting contributions to British art.
If I were to make comparisons, then Hockney, I venture will be ranked alongside Turner and Constable because of his considerable contribution to landscape.
Hirst I think of as a new Marcel Duchamp. Someone who makes us think in a completely new way about visual art. His formulaic pieces, in particular, open up avenues for young artists that previously they may not have taken. You can see that already in the contemporary art coming out of the colleges. The technology may be different (esp. video), but the insight is often similar to that seen in Hirst.
Who knows what contemporary art may appear in the next 100 years, or even the next 10 years. I venture to suggest that successful young artists will have learned a great deal from both these distinguished artists.
Note: I have been to the Hockney, but not yet to the Hirst. I have delayed writing about the Hockney until I have seen the Hirst (soon, I plan) largely because I want to expand this thesis when I have seen both for myself.