Damien Hirst leaves Gagosian

Damien Hirst, Doxylamine From Dali to Damien Hirst, The Story by Saffronart

Damien Hirst, Doxylamine
rom Dali to Damien Hirst, The Story by Saffronart

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart ponders over the latest news to hit the global art world

New York: Damien Hirst is in the news again. This time for his split with his primary gallery (also one of the world’s largest, but more about that later), Gagosian.  After a longstanding relationship of seventeen years, the gallery and the artist are headed for a split. Why? No one knows (yet!). Even Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page (my usual go-to for art world breaking news) has no mention. All we have are amicable press statements issued from both sides wishing the other success.

And success it will be, for both Gagosian and Hirst are unstoppable. According to a recent report by The Financial Times, Gagosian’s turnover was estimated at $925m this past year.  Likewise in June 2012, The Sunday Times cited Damien Hirst as the world’s wealthiest artist, with a fortune of £215m.

Damien Hirst poses in front of his work I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds

Damien Hirst poses in front of his work I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds

What we will miss are fruits of this lethal combo! It was the perfect marriage! Gagosian has hosted some spectacular exhibitions of the artist’s work, the most recent being a worldwide showing of Hirst’s Spot Paintings at the beginning of 2012. It also played a significant role in organizing a giant retrospective of Hirst’s work at the Tate Modern in London this summer. The exhibition went down in the institution’s history as the most popular one drawing almost half a million visitors.

The artist-gallery relationship is tricky as it is often ruled by power, from opposite points of view. There is no one-size-fits-all model. But Hirst has always been his own master, right from the beginning. He first came into news in 1988 when still as a student at London’s  Goldsmith’s College, he curated an exhibition in an abandoned warehouse to show his and his peer’s work. In 2008, he broke the art market convention of selling only through representative galleries. He side-stepped both his primary galleries, Gagosian in New York and White Cube in London to hold an auction of his works (mostly new) in London.  Interestingly this auction coincided with the fall of Lehmann Brothers and the beginning of the global financial crisis of 2008-09, but was a success nonetheless.

What does Hirst’s news coincide with this time? Is it the first sign of Apocalypse 2012 – an “artpocalypse” perhaps? Definitely not! In an industry where most relationships are made on a hand shake, none of these splits are carved in stone. Stay tuned for more on this story and other art world news in 2013!

Spot on! Damien Hirst’s spot paintings exhibited worldwide

In conjunction with the the Damien Hirst spot print featured on The Story by Saffronart, Elisabetta Marabotto revisits the artist’s global exhibition, ‘The Complete Spot Paintings (1986-2011)’

Damien Hirst, Isonicotinic Acid Ethyl Ester, 2010–11.

Damien Hirst, Isonicotinic Acid Ethyl Ester, 2010–11.
Image Credit: http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/damien-hirst–january-12-2012-9/exhibition-images

London: For the few people who may not be familiar with Damien Hirst’s works, they can be categorized in three broad groups: colourful spots, medicine cabinets, and animals preserved in formaldehyde. However, the spot paintings are perhaps the most predominant element of his body of work, and definitely my favourite one.

Since the 1980s, the artist has been investigating the complex relationship between life, death and art using different media. He is one of the main figures of the collective known as the Young British Artists, who led the British art scene in the 1990s. Over the years, Hirst achieved international fame and success, and at one point was known as the world’s richest living artist. His works have always been quite controversial, but this is perhaps one of the reasons for his popularity and celebrity.

Damien Hirst, Installation view at Gagosian Gallery, London.

Damien Hirst, Installation view at Gagosian Gallery, London.

At the beginning of 2012, in conjunction with Larry Gagosian, Hirst planned to exhibit his spot paintings at Gagosian Gallery’s locations all over the world. So from January to March, every Gagosian Gallery was surrendered to the artist’s spot works. From New York and Los Angeles to London, Rome, Athens, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva more than 300 paintings by Hirst were exhibited in Gagosian’s spaces.

Most of the works were lent by private collectors or public institutions, which made the exhibitions quite different depending on the location. For example, the round canvases were very popular in America, while the irregularly-shaped ones received great success in Europe and especially London.

Damien Hirst, Zirconyl Chloride, 2008.

Damien Hirst, Zirconyl Chloride, 2008.
Image Credit: http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/damien-hirst/exhibition-images

Among the many works on display were the first ever spot painting made by Hirst in 1986, the smallest spot painting measuring 1 x ½ inches, the largest spot painting depicting four spots each measuring 60 inches in diameter and the most recent one, dated 2011, comprising 25,781 spots! In the last, each of the spots measures 1 millimeter in diameter, and no colour has been used more than once.

Speaking about his spot paintings, Hirst noted: “I was always a colorist, I’ve always had a phenomenal love of color… I mean, I just move color around on its own. So that’s where the spot paintings came from—to create that structure to do those colors, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of color.”

From Damien Hirst, to Yayoi Kusama and Bharti Kher (allowing myself to compare bindis to colourfully painted dots) the spot seems to be firmly entrenched in the world of contemporary art and fashion. So why not take advantage of the Hirst spot print on sale at The Story by Saffronart and become part of this trend?

More information on Damien Hirst’s “The Complete Spot Paintings” can be found on the Gagosian Gallery website and on Hirst’s website.

A large retrospective of this celebrated artist was organized by the Tate Modern, London earlier this year. Read more.

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