As The National Gallery toasts its triumph in gathering most of the world’s surviving da Vinci paintings in one place and Tate Liverpool announces it will be displaying a never-seen-before collection of Monet’s Water Lilies next year, Damien Hirst, not for the first time in British art, has gone in another direction completely.
The art superstar will spread a retrospective of his trademark spot paintings across 11 galleries around the world next month, meaning anyone hoping to replicate the transcendental experience of seeing Leonardo: Painter At The Court Of Milan with Hirsts, er, coloured dots will need to purchase plane tickets to New York, London, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Athens, Geneva and Los Angeles between 12 January and 18 February 2012.
With assistance from Larry Gagosian – the man who slipped from first to fourth in ArtReview’s annual poll of "most powerful person in the art world" this year – Hirst will show more than 300 variations from the painting series that first appeared in his work in 1988.
He declared the spot paintings over in 2008 but continued to produce them anyway, with the most recent featuring 25,781 1mm spots that promises to never repeat a single colour. Hirst is also working on a painting that contains two million spots that, unsurprisingly, won’t be ready in time for the exhibition.
The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 might make Hirst even more money, but if the last time he exhibited a collection of paintings is anything to go by, he could be in for a critical mauling. 2009’s No Love Lost, Blue Paintings at the The Wallace Collection saw Hirst: the painter paned as "Deadly dull, amateurish" (The Guardian), "Not worth looking at" (The Independent) and simply “Dreadful” (The Times).