Scott Reyburn reports on Damien Hirst’s growing retail empire. Hirst may have laid off his studio assistants and started painting himself again but his retail empire is growing from one store to two in the midst of a serious slump in the UK.
Other Criteria, the U.K. artist’s publishing and merchandising company, started the store this week at 14 Hinde Street in the Marylebone district. It sells works including some by Hirst himself ranging from his keyrings at 3.50 pounds ($5) to prints showing pills on mirror glass shelves, from an edition of 125, at 4,000 pounds ($5,800) each.
The first branch of Other Criteria opened in October in Bond Street next to Sotheby’s. [ . . . ] “Other Criteria makes objects and books created by artists to an exceptional standard,” said Hirst in an e-mailed statement. “I don’t think art has ever been as popular as it is today and Other Criteria aims to sell affordable art of the highest quality to everyone who wants it.”
Meanwhile, Reyburn continues his story with another irony. The Stuckists have opened a shop trying to make money while lampooning Hirst’s art. Of course, the better they do, the more they validate Hirst’s importance in contemporary British culture. Either way, if the Stuckists succeed, it would further suggest a retail-level interest in art–even in these straitened times.