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Eleven Facts about the Notorious Spot Paintings
Jarrett Moran

Let’s get this straight and move on: eleven facts about Damien Hirst’s spot paintings. On view at all eleven Gagosian galleries worldwide.

1. Hirst has made an estimated 1,400 spot paintings since 1986.

2. Gagosian’s The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011 contains over three hundred.

3. Hirst himself has painted five.

4. Hirst thinks those five are “shit.” (via On the Way to Work)

5. Rachel Howard paints the best spot paintings: “The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She’s brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.” (via On the Way to Work)

6. Hirst is still making spot paintings, despite announcing he would stop in 2008. (via the New York Times)

7. Hirst threatened to sue British Airways for copyright infringement after the airline used colored spots in an advertisement. (via the Independent)

8. Tensions with longtime patron Charles Saatchi boiled over when Saatchi formally exhibited a spot-covered Mini Cooper that Hirst had painted for charity. Hirst does not list this retrospective on his CV. (via the Guardian)

9. Hirst has made an editioned “paint by numbers” spot painting kit, containing a blank canvas, numbered dots, and numbered tins of paint. These unpainted spot paintings sell for more than the painted ones, and they generally remain unpainted. (via Reuters)

10. The earliest paintings in the Gagosian show are in the Madison Avenue location because that location has “more of an old-master feel.” (via the New York Times)

11. An assistant once painted five yellow spots in a row. Hirst told him this was insufficiently random. “We had a big fight,” Hirst admits. “Now I realize he was right, and I was wrong.” (via the New York Times)