“Damien Hirst”

Six exhibitions to see in Venice during the Biennale

From 13 May to 26 November, a dense programme has been scheduled at Venice for the 57th Biennale. From Xavier Veilhan’s “Merzbau musical” to Mark Bradford’s social project, we take a little look at the openings not to miss. This year, the Venice Biennale is being steered by a Frenchwoman, Christine Macel, curator of the department of contemporary and prospective creation at the Centre Pompidou. The event’s theme, “Viva Arte Viva”, covers the capacity of artists to “invent their own universes” and “inject vitality into the world we live in”, in the words Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale foundation. This faith in art and the future is a deliberate choice on Baratta’s part after a beautiful but austere 2015 vintage, curated by Okwui Enwezor (“All the World’s Futures”). The Italian city will be welcoming numerous exhibitions and national pavilions simultaneously. Much to see, to hear, and to reflect on…   French Pavilion: a new-generation recording studio This year, the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is being overseen by Xavier Veilhan, and shouldered by curators Lionel Bovier (director of the MAMCO in Geneva) and Christian Marclay (artist and musician). Veilhan, as successor to Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, is setting up a project called “Merzbau musical” which plays on the volumes and decors of the French Pavilion’s space, drawing inspiration from a recording studio. The exhibition’s title is a nod to Kurt Schwitters whose “Merzbau” consisted of a habitable construction of variable dimensions, composed of salvaged objects. Schwitters’ project, initially intended to be named “Cathédrale de la misère érotique” (Cathedral of Erotic Misery), started in Hannover, then continued in Oslo and New York, throughout the artist’s life. In the French Pavilion, Xavier Veilhan places at the public’s disposal all types of musical instruments – some existing, others invented for the...

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Damien Hirst back at Gagosian

Damien Hirst and the Gagosian Gallery turn a new page in their history after a break of four years, during which the British artist was represented by Jay Jopling’s gallery, White Cube. An audacious bet from Gagosian? Even though the demand for the artworks of the British artist remains high and the interest of the collectors proves consistent, some analysts of the market pointed that a sale organised by Sotheby’s in 2008 marked a decline in the artist’s rating, while they accused him to flood the market. This adds up to a study stating that some artworks of the artist, containing formalin for the preservation of dead animals, might release toxic gases. This statement is however qualified by the fact that this emission does not constitute a hazard for the visitors of the museum. Nevertheless, specialists have announced that the artist’s rating will rise as he establishes himself as an historic artist. This may be the bet of Larry Gagosian. The Gagosian gallery will present a stand dedicated to Damien Hirst in the framework of the next Frieze in New York. Millicent Wilner, director of Gagosian in London, released some details about this project: “It will be a classical presentation — an early shark piece, instrument cabinet, medicine cabinet, butterfly painting. We wanted to present him in the way most people think of...

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Damien Hirst opens Newport St Gallery London

Damien Hirst is sharing his extensive art collection with the public as he opens Newport Street Gallery in Lambeth, South London on 8 October 2015. The gallery space is located in three listed Victorian buildings, and will house solo and group exhibitions of Hirst’s favourite artists. It has been a long-term ambition of the artist to open up his collection to the public, as he comments, “I’ve always loved art and art deserves to be shown in great spaces, so I’ve always dreamed of having my own gallery where I can exhibit work by the artists I love. I believe art should be experienced by as many people as possible and I’ve felt guilty owning work that is stored away in boxes where no one can see it, so having a space where I can put on shows from the collection is a dream come true.’ The inaugural exhibition is entitled “Power Stations”, a solo exhibition of paintings by John Hoyland (1934-2011) and will open on 8 October 2015 and run to 3 April 2016. In line with Hirst’s desire that art be made accessible to all, the gallery will be free to the...

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Weng Fine Art AG with early turnaround: Group sales increase 40% in H1 of 2015.

H1 of 2015 for Weng Fine Art AG shows that the EBIT has doubled to €780,000, and its newly structured B2B business has seen good market sentiments and prime international positioning. The EBIT for Weng Fine Art AG of €780,000 increased by 111% from last year’s figures. Pre-tax profit statements amounted to 650,000, which exceeded the amounts obtained in H1 of 2014 by 140%. Net profit for the year of 2015 will exceed last year’s by a multiple. Weng Fine Art AG has exceeded growth targets, and with the financial year which began 1 February 2015, Weng Fine Art AG traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and made consolidated sales of €3.65 million [unaudited figures]. The figures from last year saw a jump of 40%. WFA CEO Rüdinger K. Weng said of the recent success of the e-commerce platform “Weng Contemporary”, which launched in May: “While the high-end segment was booming in recent years, demand is now increasing in the medium price range…since the end of 2014 we focus on organic growth, means that resources which were bound in potential M&A deals are now available again for developing the core business.” Weng Fine Art AG, founded in 1994, is one of the leading German art dealing companies. Under the leadership of Rüdiger K. Weng, they have sold over 16,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, and artworks from several hundred international artists. They partner with galleries, and major auction houses, including Sotheby’s and...

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Art in the 90s: Scandal and business with Young British Artists

Newport Street Gallery, Damien Hirst‘s long-term realisation to display works from his own personal collection, is set to open on 8 October 2015 in London. The space evokes the artist’s taste for curating, which began at the onset of his artistic career alongside his involvement in the groundbreaking “Freeze” exhibition that took place in London in 1988. The Young British Artists firmly established themselves despite facing an art market crisis with their somewhat extreme works via provocation, morbidity and black humor which marked the final stretch of the twentieth century. Indeed, their scandals, which then shook the art world, were quick to give public recognition and, subsequently transformed it into a business form. As stated by Sarah Lucas to The Guardian in 2011: “[…] It was something different. But of course that gets assimilated too, very quickly.” Art Media Agency retraces nearly 30 years of history of this ambivalent, disturbing, and commercialised iconic 90s movement. A whiff of scandal in the pantheon The rapid rise of the Young British Artists began when Charles Saatchi, founder of the Saatchi Gallery in 1985, decided to promote Damien Hirst and other young British artists in 1990. Their vein: the loud scandal propagated by the animal carcasses in formaldehyde exhibited by Damien Hirst. The artist showed the way to the small group of party animals, which scandalised the night owls of Groucho Club. While still a student at Goldsmiths College, he organised “Freeze”, an exhibition alongside Sarah Lucas, Angus Fairhurst and Gary Hume in an unused building in Docklands in 1988. The exhibition was supported by Charles Saatchi in 1991, with the piece The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which presented a dead shark in formaldehyde, making Damien Hirst known throughout the UK. The following years saw rapid...

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