Looking for the perfect backdrop for that DAMIEN HIRST spot painting hanging in your living room? Might we suggest coating your walls in the British bad boy's signature butterfly print wallpaper? It's only $1,000 per roll, USD. Available from OTHER CRITERIA...
Our friends at ART IN AMERICA covered the scene well at the opening of DAMIEN HIRST's "End of an Era" show (so named because supposedly it's the last time his formaldahyde pieces will be shown) at GAGOSIAN's Madison Ave. gallery, but the NEW YORK OBSERVER did a good job summing up the show quite nicely:
IS THIS THE END OF A DAMIEN HIRST ERA?
By Alex Taylor | New York Observer Feb 2, 2010
It’s time we had a talk about Damien Hirst. I know, I know. Mr. Hirst, who was born in 1965 and came to prominence in the London art scene of the late 1980s as the first among equal of the Young British Artists, has for so long been ascending to the kind of fame perversely reserved for artists of maximum visibility and a minimum of formal skills that the mere mention of his name may prompt a fatigued groan even among the most detached museum-goer. That guy? Again? So what’d he do now? Mr. Hirst has been such a big player in art during the last decade and a half—everything from its calculated affronts and controversies to its biennial boom to the explosion in cost-and-scale: in short, the very market mechanism itself. If you are one of those people who don’t particularly like contemporary art or disagreed with the Met’s decision to display Mr. Hirst’s dead shark for three years, you probably think Mr. Hirst has a lot to answer for. This thought was occasioned by Hirst’s current show at the uptown Gagosian Gallery, which runs until March 6. “End of an Era,” its called. And the title feels just about right. Click HERE to continue reading…
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In other DAMIEN HIRST news, the bad boy of British art grabbed additional headlines this month with the spin art HARLEY DAVIDSON he created to raise funds for LA-based charity event ANGEL ART while assaulting newsstands with his new cover design for nascent art magazine TAR. The 2008 Softail Cross Bones Harley in question was rendered by Hirst in his now signature spin art style as a donation to the Angel Art auction (that also featured works by Ed Ruscha, Catherine Opie, and Jeff Koons, among others) benefiting PROJECT ANGEL FOOD, a charity that provides meals to adults and children affected by HIV/AIDS. The bike went on the block late last week at a VIP gala event at Hollywood talent agency CAA and was quickly snapped up for an as-yet undisclosed amount after a round of frenzied bidding. For the second issue of Tar (that's "art" spelled backwards), a NYC-based upstart art magazine founded by Black Book magazine founder EVANLY SCHINDLER, Hirst "borrowed" a portrait of Kate Moss from the March 2005 cover of W magazine and gave it his trademark "visible man" treatment. Said Schindler of the image in conversation with the NY Times, “I think the cover really ties in both the conscious and subconscious levels of the beauty myth, tearing away the layers and looking at what’s below." Given the tumultuous state (to put it mildly) of the publishing industry, we can only hope the instant collector's edition helps ensure a forthcoming third issue for the very worthy bi-annual. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Last weekend saw the DAMIEN HIRST's first grand spectacle of 2009 when his daunting career retrospective "Requiem" opened at the PINCHUK ART CENTER in the unlikely city of Kiev, Ukraine. Not exactly known as an epicenter of fine art (unless you count the Ukrainian girls, that is), resident steel billionaire and obsessed Hirst collector VICTOR PINCHUK aims to change that by launching the epic visual spectacle that includes over 100 works (a vast amount of which came from Pinchuk's private collection) by the British artist from 1998 – 2008 in his own privately funded art palace that holds the title as the largest private museum in the former Soviet Union. The fact that this grandiose show of power comes at a time when...Read More
In a sure sign of the state of the modern art world, the single artwork attracting the most attention at ARCO (the Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair) that opened today was not a masterpiece by DAMIEN HIRST, but rather a parody of the UK bad boy artist by EUGENIO MERINO depicting the master financial strategist encased in one of his own white display cubes, shooting himself in the head. Titled "For the Love of Gold" in reference to Hirst's $100 million diamond encrusted skull "For the Love of God," the hyper-realistic yet oddly contorted piece incorporates real human hair, glass eyes, and realistic blood pouring from a gaping hole in the cranium and was quickly snapped up on opening day by a Florida collector for $33,500 USD. Sounds like Damien's busy decorating his Miami winter home...
Not only did DAMIEN HIRST, the most controversial and highest paid living figure in the art world redefine how business is done late last year with his groundbreaking Sotheby's auction, he's managed to thumb his nose at the world of retail this week by opening a second London shop in the middle of the 21st Century Great Depression:
"Damien Hirst has defied the slump in U.K. consumer spending by opening a second shop in London. Other Criteria, the U.K. artist’s publishing and merchandising company, started the store this week at 14 Hinde Street in the Marylebone district. It sells works including some by Hirst himself ranging from his keyrings at 3.50 pounds ($5) to prints showing pills on mirror glass shelves, from an edition of 125, at 4,000 pounds ($5,800) each.
The first branch of Other Criteria opened in October in Bond Street next to Sotheby’s. The previous month, the auction house staged Hirst’s 111.5 million-pound sale, “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever.” Since then, U.K retailers have suffered in the economic slump. Woolworths Group Plc, MFI Group Ltd. and Zavvi Group were chains that collapsed and closed stores.
“Other Criteria makes objects and books created by artists to an exceptional standard,” said Hirst in an e-mailed statement. “I don’t think art has ever been as popular as it is today and Other Criteria aims to sell affordable art of the highest quality to everyone who wants it.” Click HERE to continue reading...
In THE HOURS’ new video for "See the Light," Hollywood danger girl SIENNA MILLER dons a hospital gown, gets trapped in a glass case in a bag shop, smokes, talks about suicide, cries a lot, undergoes an MRI scan, and smears herself in cow's blood in front of four eviscerated, wall-mounted bovine carcasses. If this last image brings to mind DAMIEN HIRST, that's no accident. Hirst, a friend of the band, was art director on the video, made by "American History X" director TONY KAYE. The Hours' singer, Antony Genn, has found a good friend in Hirst—the artist not only contributed artwork to their first record, 2001's "Narcissus Road," and to their forthcoming EP, also titled "See the Light," but has founded a record label, IS GOOD, to promote their music.
After a record-breaking solo auction at SOTHEBY’S in September that raised a record $200 million USD, DAMIEN HIRST has announced this week that he’s laying off half of his staff of London-based assistants that create the bulk of his art in a factory-style setting under his Science Ltd. studio umbrella. Having explained in July that he would cease production of some of his most (in)famous series of works including the spin, butterfly, and medicine cabinet lines, after the last offerings of each were sold at Sotheby’s, Hirst has scaled back his workforce accordingly, perhaps in anticipation of upcoming artwork that he promises will be more painterly and hands-on with less emphasis on the manufactured sculptural tableaux he’s become famous for. Around 20 of Hirst’s assistants who are earn a reported $30K USD each, have been let go, and although workers have been told not to speak to the press, the artist’s spokesperson Jude Tyrrell explained, “As previously stated by Damien, he is finishing a number of bodies of works which is why temporary contracts have not been renewed. We have to be mindful of the current economic climate and how this may affect us in the future." After all, art, above all else, must reflect one’s times, no?
In other Hirst news, have a look at Damien’s commentary on his recent entry into the BRITISH MUSEUM’s current “Statuephilia” show and the skull as a metaphor in his art:
ST REPORTING FROM LONDON FOR DAY II OF DAMIEN HIRST'S SOTHEBY'S AUCTION:
Despite the dark pall cast over day two of DAMIEN HIRST's massive "Beautiful Inside My head Forever" auction at SOTHEBY'S by the weekend's Lehman financial crisis and tomorrow's impending AIG disaster, anxious collectors bid big on the remaining 177 art lots like their social reputations depended on it to bring the sale's two-day total to a whopping £111.4 million, or $200.8 million USD. Personal preference seemed to reign supreme throughout today's two uneven sales sessions with lots like Hirst's preserved unicorn piece, "The Dream," selling for $7,284,408 USD, way over its $533,005 USD high estimate, while his pickled zebra piece, "The Incredible Journey," sold for only $3,375,701 USD, finishing just below its low-end $3,553,369 USD million sales estimate. The biggest sellers of the day, however, were the artist's massive array of various butterfly and spin art paintings, perennial favorites in Hirst's aesthetic arsenal that he's vowed to discontinue following this auction. To emphasize that point, the auctioneer even chided the crowd with the motivational come-on, "They're running out, ladies and gentlemen." The highlight of the day's incredibly long, monotonous proceedings came not when Damien Hirst's image appeared magically on the face of the auction pedestal, but when a delirious attendee began bidding "six pounds!, six pounds!" on a £100,000+ auction lot before being dragged away by earpiece-wearing security guards, babbling incoherently. Already a billionaire and the “biggest dollar earner in the history of art,” according to his manager Frank Dunphy, Hirst's most important work of conceptual art seems to be within a hair's breadth of reaching completion. The piece in question, you ask? His bank account. HAVE A LOOK: Read More