Photo credit: Mary Altaffer, via
So, to sum up, there is nothing really conceptually interesting about these spots unless you project your own meaning unto them, and even Hirst himself appeared bored and a touch smug attending his New York gallery opening. So… do we just not “get” these paintings? Are we philistines? In this blogger’s humble opinion, I think we’re just too sober. It’s no secret that Damien Hirst has partaken — sometimes in excess — in substances of intoxicating properties. And this whole “pharmacy” theme? Doesn’t that just seem like a giant, giant hint? Has anyone ever looked at the spot paintings and was reminded of acid blotting paper? It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that almost everyone who personally attended the “spot” openings and really, really looked at the work experienced dizzying, disorienting, perception-altering, sensation-pleasing moments?
Now, we’re not advocating the use of psychotropic drugs. We wouldn’t do that. But, perhaps to really experience this body of work, you have to first drop your righteous rage about how Hirst’s indentured assistants mass-produce his art and that the diamond-skull-bedazzler is completely out of touch with the 99%. Drop them. Then, open your mind with your lubricant of choice and head over to your nearest Gagosian and look at as many paintings for as long as possible. Let us know if you “get” them.
Main image courtesy of Gallerist NY.