Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 is currently on exhibit at the several Gagosian Galleries throughout the world through February 18th: New York, London, Athens, Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, Geneva, Rome, and Paris. Luckily NYC is home to three Gagosian Galleries, which made for a very fun day of gallery-hopping and spot seeing this past Saturday.
The beau and I started at the 24th Street location, walked over to the very nearby 21st Street location, then hitched our way uptown to the massive three-story-plus-a-massive-shop-next-door Upper East Side location (which is conveniently across the street from The Carlyle and its swanky bar). Photography inside the galleries is a no-no (rather than the overkill on security staff, a sign or two might have helped), but I was able to sneak a few covert pics for this post (below).
My first exposure to Hirst’s work was back in 1999 when the Brooklyn Museum hosted the controversial Sensation exhibit. Since then, I’ve visited his shark suspended in formaldehyde at The Met and contemplated blowing the rent money on a diamond-dusted skull print. I even wish I owned a home so I could wallpaper the bathroom in his religious pill art ‘Pharmacy’ wallpaper. I admit it—I’m a fan. And this is why I could never be a hipster: something’s popularity has never deterred me from liking it.
So how was it? Well, I don’t think I’m going to shock anyone by telling you that it’s a LOT of spots (or dots or polkadots or circles) and a LOT of color. I happen to like polkadots and color and the Spot Paintings in general, so I was a happy camper. Was it too much? You know, I thought it would be, but the more pieces we saw, the more I appreciated the collection as a whole. Some were enormous with just four giant spots, some were so tiny that I couldn’t make out the colors of the dots until I was inches away from the canvas, some were packed with bright color, some were more muted, some were on round canvases, some square, some rectangular, some hung vertically, some horizontally, and some made me dizzy. And all of them together made me happy.
Make a day of it! Visit all three Gagosian Galleries in NYC:
555 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Hours: Tue-Sat 10-6
522 West 21st Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6
980 Madison Avenue (between 76th and 77th Streets)
Hours: Tue-Sat 10-6
For further reading:
The Gagosian Galleries website
TODAY: Gagosian Gallery launches worldwide exhibition of 25 years of spot paintings by Damien Hirst from Hirst’s site OtherCriteria.com
Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings Take Over the World from Newsweek
Hirst, Globally Dotting His ‘I’ from The New York Times
Spots and Sharks and Maggots and Money: How Damien Hirst took over the world. From New York Magazine
Damien Hirst’s ‘Complete Spot Paintings’: 10 Reviews from GalleristNY