Paul's Gallery of the Week: Newport Street Gallery - FAD Magazine

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Paul’s Gallery of the Week: Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst himself led the burning at his Newport Street Gallery on 11 October

Newport Street Gallery, 1 Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ – www.newportstreetgallery.com


Say what you will about Damien Hirst’s cash cow modes of production, he loves art and ploughs a good proportion of his gains back into acquiring and showing it at his purpose-built gallery halfway between Waterloo and Vauxhall. As you’d expect, he isn’t one for half measures: the space is 37,000 sq. ft. of high end design by architects Caruso St John; and the shows since its opening in 2016 have demonstrated the staggering amount of work he has bought by, for example, John Hoyland, Jeff Koons, Gavin Turk and Martin Eder – not only did the latter’s solo show contain more than forty mostly huge paintings, I was told that Hirst had plenty more of the German artist’s not-terribly-tasteful works in reserve. The gallery is in the news this month for the ritualistic day-by-day burning of 4,851 of Hirst’s own 10,000-strong series ‘The Currency’, for which the purchasers have elected to keep the NFT rather than the physical work – they have to choose. The project is typical of recent Hirst: any success lies not so much the individual artworks – punchy in the 90’s, far less so this century – as in their performative presentation. Are the ways,  then, that Hirst has given us the diamond skull , the auction, the reinvention as a bad painter, the provocative mass slaughter of butterflies, the phoney shipwreck, the cynically cheesy obsession with cherry blossom, the Newport Gallery itself and now the burning of the five thousand – enough to make him differently important as a ‘market performance artist’? Maybe…

London’s gallery scene is varied, from small artist-run spaces to major institutions and everything in between. Each week, art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives a personal view of a space worth visiting.



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