As was not expected, there are actually people who are taking on the challenge of visiting all 11 museums around the world which are exhibiting the complete collection of Damien Hirst's Spot Paintings. To be precise, 600 people have signed up for the race to colorful dots. "Seeing spots" has never been more expensive.
Cristina Ruiz from The Art Newspaper writes of her journey from London to Paris at the start of the challenge:
"The alarm goes off at 4am; just over an hour later I am boarding a train to Paris from St Pancras station. It's not fun getting up at this ungodly hour but at €39, the 5:40am train to Paris was the best deal I could find, so here I am. Today, my Damien Hirst spot tour begins in earnest."
In earnest, but definitely in sleepiness.
"8:55am: I sleep until we are approaching Paris. I obviously have Hirst on my mind because the first thing I observe when I wake up is that the rising sun looks like a giant Hirst spot on the horizon."
Sure, let's pretend that God had Hirst in mind when he said, "Let there be light."
[Damien Hirst, Michael Joo "Have You Ever Really Looked at the Sun?" via]
Here's more from Ruiz after she realizes it's early, she's cold, and can't check into her hotel yet:
"The painting is strangely mesmerising [sic]—the greens and yellows jump out at you first, then you notice the greys and blues. Patterns emerge and recede. This is fun. Art criticism-lite. To be honest, it's the first time I've looked at a spot painting for more than 15 seconds. They are weirdly hypnotic... Buddhist monks could use them as meditation tools."
Weirdly hypnotic. Downright dizzying. Same difference.
Ruiz continues and says that when she got her challenge card stamped, the staff informed her that she was not the first to do so. Whilst leaving the gallery, she runs into a fellow challenge seeker from Brussels who tells her exactly why she is chasing the spot paintings:
"'Damien Hirst is covering the world with spots but the show only works if someone actually sees it all,' she explains with the enthusiasm of a groupie. 'People like the paintings; the critics can say what they want but they make people happy. Look at this,' she says pointing to a large circular canvas in front of us, 'I don't know why it works, but it works.'"
We hate to say the obvious, but it works because it's a fractal. Also, a leopard can't change its spots, but Damien Hirst can change the colors of other people's work and claim it as his own.
As for Ruiz?
There are 599 other people competing. The clock's tickin'!
For the full article, go HERE!
Images © Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012 Photography Prudence Cuming Associates