Damien Hirst Accused of Plagiarism Over His Medusa-like Rihanna

Damien Hirst Accused of Plagiarism Over His Medusa-like Rihanna
Jim Starr, Medusa 1 & Damien Hirst's Medusa for GQ
(Courtesy the artists and GQ)

Artist Jim Starr believes his contemporary take on Medusa “inspired” Damien Hirst’s makeover of pop singer Rihanna as the Greek snake-haired monster, executed for the cover of GQ’s 25th anniversary issue.

“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 told the Evening Standard. The artist produced several versions of the gorgon, one of which he says was sold at auction alongside of some of Hirst’s works.

Starr’s case is rather slim. For the photo shoot, Hirst has simply given Rihanna Medusa’s attributes (snake hairdo and fierce eyes) according to the Greek mythology. But this accusation comes after a long list of similar claims. Many of these were compiled by Stuckists’ co-founder Charles Thomson in “The Art Damien Hirst Stole.” The article compares Hirst’s artworks to pieces by other artists. It features Thomas Downing’s spot paintings, Hans Haacke’s Floating Sphere (1964), and John LeKay’s crystal skull Spiritus Callidus #2 (1993).