A Reluctant Defense of Damien Hirst's "Spot Painting" Spectacular

If Damien Hirst didn’t exist, we would have to invent him. In some ways, I think we have invented him. He has taken on fantastic proportions as a villain in many people’s minds. In smart company these days, admitting that you actually liked Damien Hirst would be something like saying that you appreciated the painting of Thomas Kinkade, or the cinematic oeuvre of Michael Bay, or the literary stylings of Tucker Max — or, really, some kind of hydra-headed combination of the three, a kitschy, blockbuster-chasing frat boy monster.

But give the guy credit: His current “Complete Spot Painting” stunt at Gagosian gallery has inspired the most magnificent and readable outpouring of art hate of recent memory. Dan Fox derided the experience of the show as being “like eating a vanilla ice-cream in a branch of Gap stocked with a particularly beige seasonal clothing range”; Christian Viveros-Faune wrote a blistering fake obit, dubbing him the “the art world’s huckster laureate.” My favorite takedown, and one of the most-quoted, is by the adroit and acidic Will Brand, written before the show even opened: “These spots reflect nothing about how we live, see, or think, they’re just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop.”

For the complete article by Ben Davis go to Art Info’s website.