‘It’s the gallery staff I worry about’: Damien Hirst’s Gagosian takeover – review

‘It’s the gallery staff I worry about’: Damien Hirst’s Gagosian takeover – reviewApril 14, 2021

Gagosian Britannia, London
Part of a year-long residency at the gallery, the artist’s initial show, with Coke vending machines, rubbish bags and cow’s tongues a-lolling, is dispiriting

Damien Hirst has begun a year-long “takeover” of the echoing concrete-floored spaces of Gagosian Britannia Street. There’s even a readymade hashtag #HirstTakeover, like a cry for attention. I can’t see how a year-long exposure in a single commercial gallery can be good for any artist, but with Hirst showing something somewhere all the time anyway, I don’t suppose it will stretch him too much. It is the staff at the London gallery I worry about. The works will be changing over the year, but no details are available.

The works filling the gallery presently come under the rubric of Fact Paintings and Fact Sculptures, and span more than 20 years between 1993 and the present. The earliest work is a cow’s head, with tongue lolling, bleeding quietly on the gallery floor. If it is blood (there might be health and safety issues if it is). More likely it is resin. Called Hot Love, I’m not sure about the head either, which doesn’t look pickled, and could, I suppose, be a simulacrum. Time will tell. We have a year, and any number of stand-in fresh bovine heads should the need arise.

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