A representative at his holding company, Science Ltd, confirmed that Hirst made all the work by himself, sans assistants, in his London studio. And perhaps that’s why this new work, while still gigantic in scale, feels more intimate, closer to the artist than the mass-produced spot paintings, or the death-obsessed science experiments, or the diamond-laden statements on wealth. A director at the gallery said that collectors wanted new fresh work by brand-name artists, and knowing that the artist made the work himself was a selling point.
I had been planning on buttonholing Hirst at some point in the night to ask a question or two, after weeks of interview requests that were volleyed between the artist’s studio, the artist’s liaison at Gagosian, the gallery’s communications representatives, and an outside public relations team that handles the events surrounding this particular opening, finally resulted in polite denial from the press-shy Hirst. Perhaps it was appropriate, then, that for most of the evening the artist was nowhere to be seen.
During a post-opening dinner hosted by Larry Gagosian at Mr. Chow down the street, I went outside for some air, and saw a man bound out of the restaurant with a few young Englishmen in tow. He was wearing a grey suit and gold chains, and after pausing a second by the sidewalk, peering down the streets of Beverly Hills, the man beckoned the young men to come along, and off they went, following Damien Hirst.