Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986 - 2011 - Gagosian

Damien Hirst, N-Methylurea, 2005

As a taster for the Tate Modern's forthcoming Damien Hirst retrospective (4 April - 9 September), Gagosian has launched its ambitious, if slightly batty, global exhibition of the Complete Spot Paintings, 1986-2011. The exhibition will take place at once across all of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong, opening worldwide on 12 January and continuing until 10 March. If you have the time and money to pop into all 11 exhibitions you may be lucky enough to win a signed spot painting specially dedicated to you! Hmm...
Hirst on Spots:
I had an argument with an assistant who used to paint my spots. A fantastic argument. Because it's, like, nothing comes out of my studio unless I say it comes out of the studio. You've got loads of people working. You've got people you care about that you've known for long periods of time. When she was leaving, and she was nervous, she said, 'Well, I want a spot painting. I've painted loads for you. I've painted these spot paintings for a year, and I want one'. A year in the studio, getting paid a fiver, a tenner an hour, whatever it is. So I said, 'I'll give you a cheque for seventy thousand quid if you like. Why don't I just do that? Because you know you're going to sell it straight away. You know how to do it. Just make one of your own.' And she said, 'No. I want one of yours.' But the only difference between one painted by her and one of mine is the money.
I only ever made five spot paintings myself. Personally. I can paint spots. But when I started painting the spots I knew exactly where it was going. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I couldn't be fucking arsed doing it. And I employed people. And my spots I painted are shite. They're shit. I did them on the wrong background, there's the pin-holes [from the compass] in the middle of the spots which at the time I said I wanted, because I wanted a kind of truth to it. Under close scrutiny, you can see the pocess by which they were made. They're shit compared to... The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel [Howard]. She's brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.
Hirst, Damien and Burn, Gordon (2001) On The Way to Work, London: Faber and Faber: "Interview 4: Outbuilding, Combe Martin, Monday, 30.08.09", pp82 and 90.

Jerry Saltz on Hirst's Spots:
Hirst's spot paintings are spiffy riffs on Sol LeWitts sixties formula: authorless paintings that can be made by anyone. Each one looks cheery, fresh, and modern. The grids are machinelike, the color lifelikebingo, a brand. I wouldn’t mind owning a spot painting at all. Yet the idea of owning more than one is unimaginable. You see one, and you really have seen them all. (Read Spots and Sharks andMaggots and Money: How Damien Hirst took over the world, by Jerry Saltz)
Read review by Adrian Searle, watch TV interview with Charlie Rose.
Damien Hirst, Methoxyverapamil, 1991
Damien Hirst, 1-Bromododecane, 1996
Damien Hirst, DL-P-Chlorophenylalanine Methyl Ester, 1998
Damien Hirst, Bromchlorophenol Blue, 1996
Damien Hirst, Levorphanol, 1995
Damien Hirst, Spot Painting, 1986
Damien Hirst, Ethyl Laurate, 2003
Damien Hirst, Eucatropine, 2005
Damien Hirst, Cupric Nitrate, 2007
Damien Hirst with Spot paintings, Gagosian, 522 West 21st Street, NY

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