Thursday, February 2, 2012
review of “Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986-2011”. First published in New York Magazine, the review delivers a truncated history of Hirst’s rise to fame and makes some fast and loose comparisons between the artist and other notable creators before dissolving in a vague denouement that offers little conclusion. Much like institutional critique, I believe there is a time and place for art critical critique. It happens to be here and now. It is a glaring error that Saltz either overlooked or decided not to mention Charles Saatchi's hand in not only bank-rolling the YBA, but also catapulting Hirst to the top of the group in general. Is Pollock's work ever discussed without even a gesture towards Clement Greenberg? Not bloody likely. Frankly, there is enough mystique surrounding Saatchi (a secretive and publicly absent man) that Saltz could have guaranteed himself at least 50 more readers for having dropped his name. In November 2009, BBC Two ran a four episode reality television show called "School of Saatchi", which had students of the Slade competing against each other through a number of art challenges. Living in London at the time and spending most days at the Slade with my roommate, I certainly heard Saatchi's name more often than Hirst's. here. Saltz does very little to unpack Hirst’s ideas, which I think is careless. He offers a few token words on opticality ("the colour lifelike") and materiality ("the grid machinelike"), neither of which feel substantiated. Finally, I am guessing the subject of the artist’s paintings is...spots? Lordy. Saltz did not convince me to ever see Hirst’s spot paintings, regardless of the home they are keeping at Gagosian x 11. Courtesy of Rachel Anne Farquharson, Art Writer for ArtBarrage.com and member of The Ministry of Artistic Affairs.