guileless belief disguised as cynicism


No one commands higher prices than Damien Hirst, and nothing is more fashionable than to loathe him. Still, we can’t do without him. In his person and his work, Hirst embodies the current condition of the art market: aloof, reckless, profligate, creepy, fast, fat and out of control. He is to art what Dubai is to architecture and Michael Bay is to movies: the leading exponent of the current blockbuster style. No one else has been as good at giving material drama and visual form to the vast accumulations of wealth during the latest, rococo phase of capitalist accumulation. That makes him our canary in the mineshaft. Whether despicable or dumb, whatever he does is at least worth noticing. This month, an exhibition of Hirst’s spot paintings opened at every outpost of the Gagosian Gallery empire the world over. It’s a terrific marketing trick, as is almost everything Hirst does. Anyone who visits all eleven galleries (spread among eight cities) will get a free print—and, in spite of myself, I’ve been wondering if I could swing a trip to Athens and Hong Kong next month. As an art exhibit, though, “The Complete Spot Paintings” offers a strange mix of commercial megalomania and aesthetic tedium.

more from Jacob Mikanowski at The Point here.