Art and fame together are like a desire to live forever.
Marking the opening of the new gallery in Gstaad, Gagosian is pleased to present Myths, Legends and Monsters, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Damien Hirst. Produced over the past fifteen years, these works have not previously been exhibited.
Myths, Legends and Monsters (2007–) is a series of monochromatic oil paintings that depict legendary artistic, political, and pop-cultural personalities including Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Bowie, Sharon Tate, and Andy Warhol. Reconsidering what makes such figures lastingly iconic, Hirst calls into question contemporary notions of celebrity and identity, influence and notoriety. The series’ subjects are all complex individuals—far from being straightforward heroes or villains, they possess aspects of all three elements of the title. “I tried to represent humanity—or, often, a lack of it—in all its facets,” Hirst explains.
By rendering the subjects of Myths, Legends and Monsters in black and white, Hirst introduces a powerful aura of nostalgia to the project, a persistent suggestion of fading memories and times past. He also establishes a striking contrast with the intense and varied color on display in other well-known bodies of his work such as the extensive Spot Paintings series and, more recently, the Veil paintings. “I felt a need to let the color drain away,” he notes, “and explore something more binary.” The exhibition’s pencil drawings, made after the paintings but of equal significance to the artist, underscore this exclusive focus.
Myths, Legends and Monsters is the most recent incarnation of Hirst’s Fact Paintings, which mimic photographs in oil on canvas, sometimes with scrupulous accuracy, at others reveling in the physical qualities of the medium. Fascinated by the implications of investing an extended period of artistic labor in the making of an image that was originally captured in a mere instant, Hirst presents these works as challenges to the obduracy of “fact” as a governing principle of perception. Myths, Legends and Monsters explores, as do the Fact Paintings as a whole, a dialogue between the brush and the camera as agents of “truth.”
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2021
The Fall 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Damien Hirst’s Reclining Woman (2011) on its cover.
For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
Sydney Stutterheim meditates on the power and possibilities of small-format artworks throughout time.
In the Studio: Damien Hirst’s Veil Paintings
Damien Hirst speaks about his Veil paintings with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald. “I wanted to make paintings that were a celebration,” he says, “and that revealed something and obscured something at the same time.”
Damien Hirst: Visual Candy
James Fox considers the origins of Damien Hirst’s Visual Candy paintings on the occasion of a recent exhibition of these early works in Hong Kong.
Damien Hirst: Colour Space Paintings
Blake Gopnik examines the artist’s “dot” paintings in relation to the history of representation in Western art, in which dabs of paint have served as fundamental units of depiction and markers of objective truth.
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Extended through April 16, 2022
Forgiving and Forgetting
January 20–April 16, 2022
541 West 24th Street, New York
Emergency Paintings, Danger Paintings, Hazard Pictures and Seizures
October 5, 2021–February 5, 2022
Britannia Street, London