Friday, June 14, 2013

Hirst’s efforts to enhance his reputation raise new questions

The Art Newspaper revealed in April that the new Damien Hirst catalog would incorporate no less than 1,400 spot paintings, and could dismay any forgers who feel these spot works were conducive to fakery. As reported, a person was indicted a few months ago in New York, accused of attempting to dispose fake Hirsts. These included some fake spot limited-edition prints, as well. He though, pleaded not guilty.

A catalog set to be released, however, could draw renewed attention to issues such as whether the dot paintings done by his anonymous assistants are of the same value. Raising some interesting questions based on discussion with experts, Graham Bowley of The NYT, makes the following observations:
  • “While such a catalog is usually a sign that an artist or scholars are drawing a final line under a specific body of work, the spot paintings are still being made. Damien is working on some spot paintings with very small spots, including a painting with one million spots, which will take a number of years to complete,” according to the director of Science Ltd, James Kelly, who added that Hirst would eventually follow this catalog with a complete catalogue raisonné for his entire body of work. 
  • For many wary experts, this catalog along with a flurry of activity last year that included a commission for the London Olympics, a retrospective at Tate Modern in London and exhibitions of more than 300 spot paintings at 11 galleries in 8 cities appears like an effort to turn around a career that rose to dizzying heights until 2008, when prices, and his reputation, took something of a plunge.
  • A co-founder of art investment advisory firm, Artvest Partners, Jeff B. Rabin, feels that Hirst needs to regain the trust of the marketplace, saying, “The catalog is one measure he could perhaps take to start to rectify some of the ill feeling out in the marketplace.”

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