Artist smashes plates and sets fire to book at opening of Damien Hirst’s NFT show

He wore a trilby, seemed slightly drunk and, it’s safe to say, isn’t a fan of Damien Hirst. Last night at the crowded opening of Currency exhibition (until October 30), a YBA solo show at its own Newport Street Gallery in London, an incident broke out that shifted the conversation from one attention-seeking artist to another.

It all started in the second-floor gift shop of Hirst’s private museum in Vauxhall, when a man, who identified himself as The arts journal as “Victor, a painter/sculptor” (and not much else), smashed a ceramic plate he had purchased moments earlier on the floor. It was not just any plate, but a plate decorated with multicolored dots, and related to the series of Hirst Place paintings.

Installation view by Damien Hirst Currency at the Newport Street Gallery

Thousands of oils on paper in this style, made in 2016, form the heart of Currency exhibition, where they are suspended in squares of glass organized in columns suspended from the ceiling. About half of these squares, rather than enclosing a work, show a gray translucent copy of a dot painting. These represent the 4,851 works (of the 10,000 that make up the series) which, at the artist’s offer last year, were exchanged by their owners for a corresponding NFT. These physical works will soon be burned during Frieze Week in London next month as part of Hirst’s statement on value, which “addresses the idea of ​​art as currency and a store of wealth”, previously said the artist. The arts journal.

With Hirst’s stunt in mind, Victor probably saw no reason why the YBA would then object to him burning a catalog produced for the show – he tells us he bought two copies, each for £300, of which he will burn only one. . And so – once he was forcibly removed by gallery security after smashing more plates in the lobby – that’s exactly what he did.

Setting fire to the book in the street outside the gallery, he pointed out: “If [Hirst] burns his art, why not me?”. The flames – around which a crowd quickly gathered like chilly campers – were finally extinguished by a security guard. Victor then stomped on the book, muttering expletives, before walking around in the night. And though he declined to answer any further questions, he did his part of his Twitter username and accept our request to follow his private Instagram. A quick scroll through the two reveals that his artistic practice, as befits a man of such “sharp criticism”, is largely based on triangles.

A skeptic might wonder if Victor was in fact hired by Hirst to provide meta-commentary on the exhibit’s themes. Newport Street Gallery has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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