New York

Damien Hirst

Gagosian Gallery | 104 Delancey Street

Entering Damien Hirst’s first major major New York show, one notices at some point that Gagosian’s downtown gallery, designed by Richard Gluckman and rotely touted as “one of the most beautiful spaces in SoHo,” looks awful. Gluckman’s design, expensive and echt-’80s though it may be, never announces itself but rather recedes, so that “important” artwork may without rancor or dissension command the podium. Damien Hirst fucks this up. Rather than a chapel, Hirst transforms this elegant space into a carnival ground; we are treated to an arcade and freak shows. The pieces seem to jostle each other for space, competing fiercely for our attention. I missed the star-rife opening, but Anthony Haden-Guest reported on it in the “Talk of the Town” section of The New Yorker: “On opening night, there were black velvet cords attached to brass stanchions outside the gallery. Among the guests were forty-plus

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