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Hirst: The artist as a brand

Coinciding with the peak of the stark criticism of his art by those art intellectuals who only see the concept of difficult artists, the black sheep of brit art Damien Hirst will be crowned ”Artist of the year”.

The Gagosian Gallery is preparing a major exhibition devoted to paintings by Hirst simultaneously in its eleven galleries: New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva and Hong Kong. Thousands of meters filled with coloured dots.

It is the first time that the Gagosian dedicated all its spaces at the same time to one single artist. It’s a matter of “more is more”. It is assumed that Mercedes will offer security and prestige and that Prada will provide the elegance. The art of brands works the same way. Friends never believe you if you say: ”I’ve paid 5.6 million dollars for this ceramic statue”. But nobody is surprised if you say: “I ​​bought it at Sotheby’s”, “I found it at the Gagosian” or “this is my new Jeff Koons”.

The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 by Damien Hirst, which is the title of the project, shows the large production that the controversial British artist has created over the past 25 years. Hirst’s paintings are the paradigm of success. He is without doubt an artist converts universally recognized symbols into gold, because they cross boundaries of culture and artistic language.

The sample precedes the first major retrospective of the work of Hirst, which opens at the Tate Modern in London in April 2012.

His career, marked by the most incredible milestones and the gift of ubiquity, attracts major collectors and museums all over the world but also repels some stuck-up famous critics.

When Sotheby’s in London held an auction with all the Pharmacy objects in 2004 they beat all records with 20,521,060 euro. Today you’ll pay the same price for a single stainless steel cabinet full of perfectly organized pills.

The death and the fragility of life are recurring themes. It all began with the famous dead shark immersed in formaldehyde called “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of a living being”, and continued with his butterflies on monochromatic fabrics symbolizing expiry, cabinets with pills and his famous polka dots.

As the financial markets were heading toward disaster in 2008, the British artist snubbed the dealers and convinced Sotheby’s to sell 223 new works. The artist didn’t go through the art galleries he usually worked with, the two most important on the art market.

The auction included dead animals; sharks, zebras, pigs and even a huge calf floating in glass aquariums filled with formaldehyde, and cabinets filled with diamonds. There were also loads of paintings: whirling paintings, paintings with dots or pinned butterflies under glass. More than 21,000 people visited Sotheby’s to see the previous exposition. The sale totalled 200,7 million dollars.

This year, no matter what, Hirst will be even more rich and famous and media talk about the polka dot paintings as “fantastically boring”. According to Gagosian “These paintings are already popular culture. They appear in commercials, clothes, cars”.

And by the way, does anyone doubt about his influence in the trend of skulls in fashion?

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst



  1. Pilar Mandl / 12 January 2012

    ¡Qué imágenes más buenas acompañando el excelente texto!
    Una vez más, muchísimas gracias por darnos una información tan interesante.

    Un saludo

    Pilar Mandl

  2. india / 16 January 2012

    Mi chiquitaju2 se ha quedado alucinado con el tiburón… “Otra vez, mamá! Otra vez! Enséñamelo otra vez!” y se acerca a la pantalla y mira y remira detalles… La foto de las pastillas le trajo a la mente a sus abuelas. Y los lunares de colores a un juego familiar muy divertido que ejercita la posibilidad de contorsionismo que no tenemos…. Hirst a los ojos de un niño, me encantó mezclarles a ambos, a usted y su saber hacer, y la interpretación básica de una criatura que se enfrenta al arte sin complicaciones ni complejos… Entre los dos me ayudaron a mirarle.
    Gracias Sra. Garrido, como siempre, más la emoción de mirar con mi peque…

  3. Blue / 16 January 2012

    Y seguimos aprendiendo. Adictos.

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