January 5, 2012

The Complete Spot Challenge

complete_spot_challenge.jpg

Oh, man, just last night I was goof-tweeting about this, and it turns out it's already a thing. Registration for The Complete Spot Challenge starts tomorrow:

Visit all eleven Gagosian Gallery locations during the exhibition Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 and receive a signed spot print by Damien Hirst, dedicated personally to you.

Registration begins on January 6 and ends on February 10, 2012.

Via Two Coats comes a link to a Carol Vogel story in the Times from last month [whoops, from Jan. 6. Note to self: 12 is the year now, not the month. -ed.] with a few details on the challenge:
To apply, they give their names, the dates their journeys begin and photo identification, like a passport or driver's license.

Each registrant will then be issued a special "Spot challenge registration card," with 11 empty circles. At each location the person shows identification and has the card specially stamped (each gallery has its own color) by one of the designated gallery officials. The contestant's presence will be noted on a gallery database.

Asked how he came up with the idea, Mr. Hirst responded in an e-mail: "I figured it would be pretty difficult to visit all the galleries, and totally admirable if anyone managed it, so admirable in fact that I thought they would deserve a work of art, so we came up with the idea to do the challenge. I'd love it if people manage it. I remember the golden tickets in Willy Wonka, maybe it's a bit like that."

How awesome that he invokes the utterly deranged Willy Wonka for this thing, which goes beyond difficult; I think it'd positively hellish. Which is really perfect.

It's not an overstatement to say that the art pilgrimage has been a key organizing principle of mine for most of my adult life. I've considered the personal experience of art, visiting it, going out of my way for it, making special trips for it, sacrificing for it, as a form of collecting, equal to or greater than actually buying works. There have been plenty of times too, when I've chosen to travel to see some art rather than buy some.

And I've done compleatist tours in the past. I traveled to the various locations of John Cage's Rolywholyover and Felix Gonzalez-Torres' retrospective, and visited works I love when they're installed in different locations. And let's not even start on biennials and art fairs.

And now, Damien Hirst is turning the idea of a transformative art pilgrimage into a grueling, round-the-world race, with a "free" five-figure print at the finish line. It's kind of despicably brilliant, really. Like a Black Friday riot for billionaires. Fantastic.

Obviously, I'll be registering immediately.

UPDATE FROM THE REGISTRATION: the "Personal Spot Print":


Acceptance and use of the Personal Spot Print constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use your name, image, likeness and photograph (all at the discretion of the Sponsor) for future advertising, publicity in any and all media now or hereafter devised throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification or permission.

Damien Hirst Spot Challenge [gagosian.com/spotchallenge]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: January 5, 2012.

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You're Going To Love The Disco Ball Next To The Lawler.

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'Imagine A World Of Spots.'

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