300 spot paintings from 1986-present are set to be exhibited simultaneously across Gagosian’s 11 galleries across the world
Damien Hirst has teamed up with his longtime U.S. dealer Larry Gagosian to deliver a complete exhibition of his ‘Spot’ paintings across all 11 Gagosian galleries worldwide. All the exhibitions, from London to Hong Kong, to Beverly Hills to New York, Paris to Rome, will occur simultaneously from 12 January to 18 February 2012.
This enterprise will see 300 paintings on show from 1986 to today, with over 50% having been sourced from private collectors and museums, while the rest are on sale for undisclosed prices. This is a controversial exhibition, with many critics having dismissed the ‘Spot’ works as lightweight, trivial, or perhaps even mercenary. But Hirst hopes that the exhibition will reveal the true worth and complexity of the series, rehabilitating in the eyes of the world.
While, in isolation, they may ‘look sort of happy — like Skittles or kids’ sweets,’ Hirst explained, ‘when you see them together you get kind of lost in them. [and] There’s an underlying anxiousness’.
An exhibition of this scale reveals the kind of daredevilry that we have come to associate with Hirst – a man described by one critic as ‘a symptom of the hype, the hubris and the money that have swamped the art scene lately’. As Hirst put it, ‘I’m not afraid to take risks’: ‘I try things that on the surface shouldn’t work, and people resent that. I could have easily done the  auction at Sotheby’s with 12 works, but I did it with three catalogs and 200 works, and it was over-the-top and in-your-face and then it pays off and people hate that, in England especially.’ The auction in question saw Hirst make an incredible £111 in just two days, and led to accusations of sale manipulation – with some suggesting that the artists enlisted business associates to splash £40,000 million on the first day.
This super-exhibition of ‘Spot’ paintings will open what promises to be a big year for Hirst, ahead of his major survey at Tate Modern in April.
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