Saturday, March 31, 2012

Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 @ Gagosian Gallery

This really was up there for me as show of the year. I am pretty indifferent to the Dot paintings though in general I like Damien Hirst as an artist, but to say I am a fan would be a little strong. Hell, I think you could argue the show is really a performance piece by Larry Gagosian, with all eleven galleries world-wide opening with completely unapologetically repetitive and downright uninteresting paintings by one of the most sought after living painters not named Richter, and not one of them is for sale. It is an outstanding absurdist gesture of capitalist excess. 

The flagship Chelsea gallery even has a gift shop where you can purchase everything from prints to skate decks. I put out $1.09 for a button, which if the merch wasn’t crass enough, I just love that neither Hirst nor Gagosian was going to eat the 9% New York City sales tax and instead put it onto the customers. With no art for sale through out the Gagosian Galaxy, I assume he has to make the overhead somewhere. But even if you find this all unseemly and at best something Warhol and even Banksy pulled off much better, it’s hard not to appreciate their ability to piss off the art-going public, which next to punk rock audiences might be the hardest demographic to actually upset. And they certainly riled some people up. Even got a great review out of the Village Voice by Christian Viveros-Faume who was so inspired by the rapper/pro-wrestlingesque display of power that he wrote Damien Hirst a fake obituary. It was brilliant and has me reading the Voice regularly for the first time since Jerry Saltz left.


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