Tag Archives: Gallery Representation

Do Process: Caitlyn Soldan

This week I am featuring artists exhibiting in Verve Gallery’s Do Process exhibition, showcasing eight unique approaches to the photographic process.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Caitlyn Soldan when I was visiting the Verve Gallery. Not only is Caitlyn a gallery assistant, she is the gallery’s Featured Online Artist this month, a category of gallery representation that debuts emerging artists. Caitlyn very kindly shared a variety of the work from the exhibition, pulling from drawers to explain the varied processes used in the work. The images Caitlyn is exhibiting is entitled Thin Veils, using the Mordançage process. In the work, she takes self-portraits using a pinhole camera. Caitlyn takes her cues from Victorian spirit photography – portraits with spirits. Thus, the images in this exhibition are Caitlyn’s visual improvisations of ghosts, spirits, and hauntings. Caitlyn’s work is ethereal, esoteric, and allegorical.

Caitlyn was born in Chicago and graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in June 2011 with a BFA in Photography. Her work explores themes of history, memory and time. Caitlyn prefers working with film and alternative processes but also enjoys exploring the possibilities of combining historical processes with new technology. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and France. Caitlyn presently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mordançage is a 20th century process created by Jean-Pierre, which is based on a 19th century process known as bleach-etch. Bleach-etch is a reversal process for film negatives. The process involves stripping away the darkest parts of the emulsion of a silver gelatin print. This image transformation creates a relief, or a raised area on the print. Water is used to float the delicate silver emulsion on the image so as to rearrange it and dry it back down onto the print. The end result is a one-of-a-kind and thus unique photographic image. The artist chose the Mordançage process for this series because it enhances the themes of time, decay, and mortality in her work. The process also gives the images mysterious and otherworldly qualities, separating them from reality.

Success Stories: Cole Thompson

Cole Thompson’s work has been on my radar for a number of years. I have always appreciated his well-crafted images and all that he brings to the table in terms of being a professional. His newsletters are as elegant as his work, and everything is presented with grace. I was thrilled to meet him in Colorado at the Center for Fine Art Photography, when we both sat on a panel hosted by Hamidah Glasgow. It was during that panel session that I discovered his unique approach to marketing and sales and thought it a good subject to explore on Lenscratch.

As part of Cole’s approach, he has let go of his long and accomplished resume, his bio filled with achievements in and out of photography, and his need to garner gallery representation. Instead, he prefers to let the work speak and sell for itself. What I do know for sure, is that he lives in Colorado, is deeply committed to his craft, and is a person I am glad to have in my orbit. He also writes a wonderful blog, Photography Black White.


Road to Nowhere – Death Valley, CA – 2011

INTERVIEW

It was great to finally meet you in person at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado. I found it so interesting to learn more about your unique perspective about marketing and selling your work. I’d like to quote from your resume page:

My art has appeared in hundreds of exhibitions, numerous publications and has received many awards. And yet my resume does not list those accomplishments, why?

In the past I’ve considered those accolades as the evidence of my success, but I now think differently. My success is no longer measured by the length of my resume, but rather by how I feel about the art that I create. While I do enjoy exhibiting, seeing my work published and meeting people who appreciate my art, this is an extra benefit of creating, but this is not success itself.

I believe that the best success is achieved internally, not externally.

Can you expand on coming to these perspectives?

First let me thank you Aline, for how kind and giving you’ve always been to me. Your generosity is something I have always respected and I appreciate this opportunity you’ve given me today.

For much of my photographic life I pursued success without ever stopping to ask what success meant to me. I simply accepted society’s definition which generally included things such as being published, gallery representation and selling your work for high prices.

But as I began to achieve those things I found that the euphoria was temporary and I was left with an empty feeling,. Yes, it was nice to hear the accolades, but in the morning it was still just me, my art and my opinion of my art. I began to realize that it didn’t matter what others thought of my work, that in the end my opinion was the only one that really mattered.

I began to question things; how do I as an artist gauge my self worth? Do I base it on sales, reviews of my work, the galleries I’m in, the price tag on my art or the awards I receive? Are external accolades my success or is success measured against an internal standard?

External success is a fickle mistress; she may love you one day and not even know you exist another. You’ll never really know her, for her standards frequently change and she’s always looking for her next new lover. To measure success by her standards can lead to an insecure existence and frustration as you try to win her affection by creating work that you hope will please her. Please do not misunderstand, I do enjoy showing my work, exhibiting it and I do gain pleasure when others like it. But these are not the reasons why I create and those things are not necessary for me to feel good about my work or myself.


The Fountainhead No. 70 – 2010

My portfolio “The Fountainhead” is an example of achieving internal success. This is a series named after the novel of the same name and it is a significant to me because architecture was one of my first loves and because I admire the novel’s theme; achieving success on one’s own terms. This series was an excellent test of my philosophy because these images have not been well received, widely published. And yet still, I consider the project a success because of how “I” feel about them.

I was reading about how the movie “The Beaver” with Mel Gibson and director Jodie Foster failed miserably at the box office. The article talked about Jodi Foster’s belief in the film’s message, and when asked about the financial disaster said:
“I’ve learned … that if you gauge your self-worth at the box office, you will be a very sorry person. “

That is also true about art; success should be measured from within and then the external accolades are like a cherry on top of a very nice dessert.

The photograph on your website that you took at age 14 is quite remarkable. How did you know at such a young age that you wanted to be a fine art photographer?


Egg in Glass, – Age 14

It sounds so pretentious to say it out loud, but at 14 years of age I knew that I was destined to be a photographer.

I was living in Rochester, NY where one day I was out hiking and stumbled upon the ruins of an old home owned by George Eastman. This so piqued my interest that I read his biography, and before I had finished the book, before I had even taken a photograph or entered a darkroom, I knew that my calling was to be a photographer. For the next ten years my life was entirely consumed with photography; I read about it, studied the images of the great masters and taught myself how to photograph and work in the darkroom.

When I look back at the images I created at that very young age, I think see a glimmer of creativity and originality.


Moon and Gull – Age 16

I recently restored this image from a single print that had survived the many years since I was 16 years old. Seeing this image brings back my earliest feelings about photography. Those were simple times when it just about me and my images, with none of the other “baggage” that one collects along the way in life. Just the pure joy of simple creation and self-satisfaction.

That to me is the essence of photography and art. Just you and your vision and creating images for yourself, it’s a wonderfully free feeling!

You’ve been pursuing photography for over 40 years, which gives you an amazing viewpoint on photography today. Has shooting digitally changed how your shoot? What changes have you seen for the better and for the worse?

I love the perspective that age and experience has given me, it’s one of the great things about getting older. I grew up in the darkroom and had such great times with all of those old processes, but I love digital because of how it frees me.

To me cameras and processes are simply tools that help me to create, and even though I have some wonderful memories of those old days, I have no desire to stick with a technology simply because of my nostalgic feelings for it. Tools are a means to an end and not the end itself, and I seek to use the best tools that are available to me. I love digital because it allows me to do things that I could not have done with film and because it allows me to focus more on the creative process.


Auschwitz No. 14

For example I don’t believe I could have created my long exposure series “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau” with film equipment. In fact much of my current long exposure work would have been difficult if not impossible, to create with those old tools.

Bottom line, I find digital to be more convenient, more capable and most importantly it allows me to focus more on the creative process and less on the technical. I like digital because it has improved my work.

Even though you work exclusively in black and white, you still manage to keep your work contemporary and explore lots of photographic ideas. After 40 years, are you drawn to similar subjects and terrain or looking to explore new territories?

This is the second time you’ve brought up my “40 years” of experience Aline, exactly what are you insinuating?

My heart always hearkens back to its roots which are black and white images in the tradition of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock, Paul Caponigro and the other great masters of photography. But even though my heart goes there, I rarely create there anymore. Instead I go to new places and enjoy a variety of subjects and techniques. Just this week I ran across this Edward Weston quote which sums up my feelings exactly:

Anything that excites me, for any reason, I will photograph: not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual, nor indulging in extraordinary technique to attract attention. Edward Weston

One of the great things about finding your own vision is that you can create unique images from common subject matter. Even though everything’s been photographed before, it’s not been photographed with “your” vision.


Ceiling Lamp, Mourning Dove Ranch

For example my series on Ceiling Lamps is my unique look at a very common object. I was standing in a hotel lobby in Akron, OH when I looked up and saw an incredible ceiling lamp, what was incredible about it was how differently it looked when you stood directly beneath it. I soon had the furniture pushed out of the way and was lying on the lobby floor to study it (twice people approached me and offered to call 911). It was a series that came about by sheer luck and sudden inspiration, and it was the start of a series that took me on many adventures.

For so long people had advised me to focus on just one subject and become known for that. I never cared for that advice and finally developed the self-confidence to say “No!” I love photographing a variety of subjects and with different styles. While my subject matter varies greatly, I hope my vision that is the common thread that binds them all together.


Linnie, No. 2

Another very different series is “Linnie, A Portrait of Breast Cancer.” Ironically this was a project I tried very hard to get out of because I typically don’t photograph people and this was a subject that I was uncomfortable with. But I’m so glad that Linnie wouldn’t take no for an answer because it turned out to be a touching experience and I made a friend for life.

I love working with vastly different subject matter, not seeking out different just to be different, but I love the variety and challenge of trying new things. If I ever become known for anything, I want to be remembered as the photographer with a wide range of portfolios.


Time No. 2 – Death Valley, CA

You consistently approach everything you do with the utmost professionalism. What can you share with emerging photographers about how you present yourself and your work to the world?

Thank you Aline, this compliment took me by surprise because it’s a quality that I didn’t appreciate about myself. I do try to live by certain principles and I hope that’s what shows through. Some of those principles are:

1. Be honest and trust others. There is nothing more important to me than my word and reputation, and I always assume others will act in the same way.

2. Simple is always better. I appreciate simplicity in everything I do including my images, my website and my words.

3. Do things right. Little things do matter and being precise and accurate is important to how I present myself.

4. Be proud of your work. If I am not proud of my work, then I cannot expect others to value or appreciate it.

5. Develop personal relationships. I believe in making friends of customers and customers of friends.

6. Be a good person. This is the basis for being a good artist and being successful.


Lone Man No. 7, Oregon Beaches

What took your work to the next level?

Several years ago I was attending Review Santa Fe and the last reviewer of the day quickly looked at my work, shoved it back towards me and said “It looks like you’re trying to copy Ansel Adams.” I responded that I was, that I loved Ansel Adams’ style and that I sought to create work like his. He then said something so profound that it would change my life, he said:

“Ansel’s already done Ansel and you’re not going to do him any better. Find your own vision.”

It was a hard thing to hear at the time, but over the course of the next year I came to understand exactly what he meant. Was my goal to really become the world’s best Ansel Adams imitator? Didn’t I want to create something original of my own?

It was then that I vowed to find my own vision, but did I have one? I grew up believing that I lacked creativity and so I compensated for this by becoming very good at the technical side of photography and imitating the look of others. Finding my vision over the next several years turned out to be one of the most difficult things I’d ever done in my life, but it was worth it because it changed my life.

The most important technique that I used to assist me on this journey was to stop looking at other photographer’s work. I found that when I’d look at other’s art, I’d want to run out and imitate their style and even that exact image. Sometimes it was done consciously but often it was done unconsciously.

I knew that I couldn’t just erase those images from my memory, but I wanted to minimize their influence so that I could see a subject as freshly and originally as possible. I wanted to be like a blind man who gained his sight for the very first time; how would I see things?

And so for the last several years I have practiced what I call “Photographic Celibacy.” My photo magazines are donated, my books gather dust on the shelf and I do not seek out new work on the internet. Not studying other photographers work has been very helpful and I give this technique much of the credit in helping me unearth my vision and to become more creative.

I do not argue this is the right approach for everyone, but it has worked for me and a recent experience reinforced the practice. I happened to see this wonderful image of three telephone poles entitled “Three Crosses” by Brian Kosoff and I immediately wanted to go out and find telephone poles that I could photograph in a similar arrangement! I caught myself and realized that I still have this natural tendency to want to imitate when I see a great image.

So for now I’ll I continue my Photographic Celibacy as I seek to further develop my vision and to see uniquely. I suspect that one day I’ll abandon this practice and once again enjoy the beautiful work that others are creating.


Harbinger No. 10 – White Sands, NM

How have you gotten your work out into the world and how do you find your buyers?

Initially I followed the traditional route and entered juried competitions to build my resume as a prerequisite to seeking gallery representation. But I never did approach galleries because I felt that a new paradigm was emerging, one that was diminishing the traditional role of the art gallery. I do not yet know exactly what that new paradigm will eventually look like, but clearly the internet will play a larger role and the gallery a smaller one.

So given that, I set out to sell my art directly via my website and have been focusing on SEO (search engine optimization) to bring traffic to my site via internet searches. I still do purchase some print advertising but have found that it, like the gallery, is a part of the old system.

Selling art direct via the internet presents many new challenges that must be understood and addressed. For example the internet has exposed thousands of new photographers from around the world, all competing for the buyer’s attention. Another challenge is how to sell art that the customer cannot see directly and can only view on a computer monitor? Something else I’m finding is that younger people who grow up on the internet do not seem to purchase prints as much as previous generations, but are content to enjoy them online. Books and prints are less important in this new internet age.

The internet is the new frontier when it comes to selling art and new techniques will need to be developed to address these emerging issues.


The Angel Gabriel – Newport Beach, CA

You write a well-read blog about your photographic life. Has the feedback and community enriched your experience, and do you ever regret giving away your knowledge?

I initially started writing my blog to improve my SEO and to drive traffic to my website by offering something of value. But what I’ve come to appreciate is how useful it is in sorting out my own thoughts and to learn from the ideas of others.

Do I regret giving away my secrets? Never, because how I photograph and process an image is not the key to its success! Vision is the key and I couldn’t give that away if I wanted to. So while I do share my technical knowledge, I stress that the real key is to find your own vision. Technical knowledge without direction is a waste.

I mentioned that in my past life I was very focused on the technical, to the point that gadgets and processes were almost more important to me than the image! In the last several years I’ve made the transformation from photographer to artist and have purposely pushed my technical pendulum way over to the other side. I now value simplicity in my seeing, photographing and processing.

When I show people how I create something using Photoshop, I let them know that I’m generally only using six tools out of the many hundreds offered. I want to make the point that great images are not dependent on complex processes, but can be created with the simplest of procedures.


Swimming Towards the Light – Kihei, Hawaii

Do you have a favorite series?

Picking a favorite series is like picking a favorite child, and so I’d have to say that I have several favorites. I am very proud of “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau” because it was an original idea and borne out of spontaneous inspiration. I am also very attached to “The Fountainhead” for what it represents and how incredibly fun it was to create the series.

If I could pick just one more favorite, it would have to be “Harbinger.”


Harbinger No.1

This is a series that features a solitary cloud in each image. The above image was the first in the series and this will be a very long term project due to the difficulty in finding great clouds in great locations.

What are you currently working on?

I’m in-between projects! I recently finished “The Fountainhead” and I have not yet found the inspiration to start something new. I have a list of ideas but in truth the only ones that have ever worked out are the unplanned, sudden inspiration ideas.

So while I have many ideas, I do not yet have the inspiration to pursue them.

That used to bother me, these periods of down time without inspiration, but not any longer. Now I see those down times as a part of the creative process, perhaps like a farmer letting a field lay fallow for a season to rejuvenate it. I’ve also learned that inspiration cannot be rushed; to try is ineffective and frustrating.


Windsurfing – Laporte, CO

And finally, what would be your perfect day?

Well Aline, with my “40 years” of experience, I’d answer this question much differently than I would have when I was younger! Strangely enough the perfect day may not involve photography at all. Despite how much I love photography, I do not love it more than my family or my life. Photography is not my life, but it is one of those special things that help me to enjoy life.

A perfect day would be spent with my family and new grandson at La Jolla Cove in San Diego. We would walk the beach in the morning, then enjoy two dives in the ecological reserve and then have a picnic lunch on the grass overlooking the Cove. Then I would slip away and go do some long exposure work while relishing the warmth of the sun, appreciating the sounds and smells of the ocean and being grateful that I could enjoy it all. And oh yes, we’d have Mexican for dinner!


Auschwitz 3 – Poland

International Photography thrives at Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2011

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We’re pleased to report that photography is alive and thriving — in Paris and all around the world! Our 2nd annual international portfolio review, Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2011, was a huge success.

For 3 days at Spéos Paris Photographic Institute, 163 photographers from 36 countries presented their work in a series of 1-on-1 meetings to 52 influential photography experts from around the world.

This 2nd annual international portfolio review was organized to help serious photographers meet museum curators, gallery owners, book publishers, magazine editors, festival directors, critics and art collectors.

These brief, intense, direct meetings often result in photography exhibitions, editorial assignments, art gallery representation, worldwide magazine and internet exposure, and purchases from museums and art collectors.

You can see a slideshow of 100+ photos of the meetings here in Lens Culture.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and very special thanks to our partners and major supporters:

fotofest.org
speos.fr
parisphoto.fr

We hope to see YOU in 2012. SAVE THE DATES: November 12-13-14 2012. Sign up for our mailing list at fotofest-paris.com.

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All photos on this page © Marie Docher, Paris.

Submit! New Directions 2012

Every year, Crista Dix at the Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, has an international call for entry that helps promote emerging photographers and help them gain exposure. This year the juror is the esteemed galleris, Debra Klomp Ching, of the Klomp Ching Gallery, New York, NY…which truly makes this bi-coastal exposure.

The submission period will be open from 1 October 2011 until 5 November 2011.

New Directions seeks to discover new talent in the world of photography. Past shows have included the works of now gallery artists Joseph O. Holmes, Priya Kambli and Joelle Jensen. Each year emerging artists have an opportunity to have their work seen by a nationally recognized figure in the field of photography. From these entries a cohesive show emerges for display at wall space in January. This year we are excited to have the opportunity to show New Directions in our gallery in Santa Barbara and we are pleased to have a second exhibition in Seattle.

All submissions for this exhibition are considered for gallery representation by both wall space and KlompChing Gallery. wall space directors and associates will review the work; however, the gallery’s review will not affect the outcome of the selection process.

About the Juror
Debra Klomp Ching is the owner and director of the Klompching Gallery in New York, founded in 2007 in partnership with Darren Ching. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of Pavilion (UK), served as an Officer at the Arts Council of England and was a lecturer in photographic practice at the University of Coventry (UK) and history of photography at Derby University (UK).

Her experience in the photography industry spans more than two decades, during which time she has participated in several notable photography review festivals, panel presentations and conferences, curated photography exhibitions in Europe, Canada and the US, juried several photography awards and contributed to both online and print publications on the subject of photography. She is an international adviser to the Executive Director of CENTER (Santa Fe) an adviser to the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins) and a photo editor for At Length Mag.

Debra Klomp Ching has a BA(Hons) in Photographic Studies, an MA in Critical History and Theory of Photography, a PG Diploma in New Media Management and has attended graduate studies in Curating.

Prospectus for New Directions 2012: Crossing Territories / Arte Factum

There are broadly two ways in which to consider the nature of the photograph; the photograph as phenomena (the object itself and its construction) and the photograph’s social/subjective intersection (how it is perceived, encountered and used). Of course, neither can be totally divorced from the other.

Contemporary photographers are demonstrating an impressive and imaginative use of photography’s new tools, facilitating them to push photography to its very limits, whilst maintaining the integrity of the photograph itself. This is what I’m looking for when curating New Directions 2012.

The methodologies of physical production are arguably as vast as the visual strategies being employed. There are some trends being witnessed that include—but are not limited to—physical re-appropriation, complex combinations of manipulation (assemblage, selective focal point, merging of analogue and digital, intervention through figuring), as well as a return to the seemingly ‘straight/pure’ photograph.

Non-exhaustive list of photographers that inspire the above viewpoint include:

Michael Wolf, Alejandro Chaskielberg, Marc Baruth, Paolo Ventura, Doug Keyes, Helen Sear, Andreas Gefeller, Myoung Ho Lee, Maria Antonietta Mameli, Beth Dow, Curtis Mann, Chris McCaw, Dong Yoon Kim, Mari Mahr, Matthew Baum, Sohei Nishono, Edith Maybin, Desiree Dolron

I’m looking for a solid marriage between form and content. Ensure that your accompanying statement is succinct and clearly states how the method of construction is coupled with your concept.

Important Dates

Open Submission period – 1 October 2011 – 5 November 2011

Artists notified – 28 November 2011

Selected prints due to wall space gallery – 2 January 2012

wall space | Santa Barbara exhibition – 4 January – 29 January 2012

wall space | Seattle exhibition – 8 February – 4 March 2012

Rules

Entries will be accepted from the United States and Internationally.

Your entry (via mail with CD or on-line) must reach the Santa Barbara gallery by 5 November 2011

A maximum of 5 images may be submitted

Traditional or Digital Images may be submitted

Submission fee is $45USD. If mailing entry, enclose payment. On-line entries can use google checkout or paypal to pay.

Image selections will be made and artists notified 28 November 2011.

Selected images must be delivered to the gallery framed and ready for exhibition after 1 December, 2011 and before 2 January, 2012.

wall space reserves the right to edit images for poor quality printing or framing.

On-line entries must be optimized for screen view (72ppi). Maximum dimensions 765px x 595px. Maximum file size: 350KB.

Entry Links

If you choose to submit a larger picture than our maximum dimensions, the image will be resampled down to 765px x 595px at 72 ppi. The larger your pictures the longer it will take for the program to process them, so be patient. Thank you.

on-line entry

Check the site for a mailable entry form.

Good Luck!

Announcing: Portfolio Reviews in Stockholm Sweden!

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Photographers, art collectors, and photo enthusiasts–

We’re very pleased to announce that Lens Culture has teamed up with Fotografiska, (The Swedish Museum of Photography), to host the first large-scale professional Portfolio Reviews in Stockholm on May 27-28, 2011.

Over the course of two days, 100 photographers will engage in one-on-one meetings and portfolio reviews with 35 international photography experts, including museum curators, gallery owners, festival directors, magazine editors, photobook publishers and representatives from photo agencies. These meetings offer photographers tremendous opportunities for career development, including potential editorial assignments, book publication contracts, art gallery representation, participation in international exhibitions, feature articles in magazines, as well as extensive business networking.

The event is limited to 100 photographers, so we urge serious, mid-career photographers to register now.

We believe that formal portfolio reviews like this are among the most proactive and efficient ways for serious, career-oriented photographers to meet many international photography experts and colleagues in a professional atmosphere. Photographers connect directly with people who can help them with artistic and business goals. It’s great for the reviewers too – they discover new talent, as well as the latest work of photographers who are already established.

More details can be found at the website: spwk.eu

The Portfolio Reviews are just part of the very exciting first annual Stockholm Photography Week, which takes place May 23-29, 2011.

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Stockholm Photography Week is a week-long celebration of international contemporary photography.

Jan Broman, co-founder and co-director of Fotografiska, says, “Stockholm Photography Week is all about developing as a photographer: through one-to-one meetings with international photography experts, workshops with fantastic photographers, and through inspiring seminars and artist lectures.”

Workshops, seminars and exhibitions include:

• Workshops with two internationally renowned photographers: Mary Ellen Mark and Anders Petersen.

• Exhibitions by world-renowned photographic artists Edward Burtynsky and Albert Watson.

• Artist lectures and seminars, including a free workshop on making photo books.

• A special, 2-hour Open Portfolio Night (open to the public), where art collectors and photography lovers can meet with all of the artists participating in the portfolio reviews — and perhaps purchase some art directly from these great talents.

• Our 2-day photography portfolio review with 35 photography experts from three continents, and 100+ international photographers.

Hope to see you there!

Cheers,

Jim Casper, founder and director, Lens Culture

Special thanks to our sponsor, Blurb.com!

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Art News: Damien Hirst to exhibit his first museum retrospective in April 2012 at the Tate Modern for the London 2012 Olympics

Damien Hirst - dots - Tate Retrospective
Damien Hirst, Adrenochrome Semicarbazone Sulfonate via The Guardian

Ultra high-profile contemporary artist Damien Hirst will showcase his first retrospective at the Tate Modern during the 2012 Olympics, from April 5th to September 9th 2012. Throughout his career, Hirst has been known for generating wealth by defying the instituted system of art relationships, linking his gallery representation with White Cube and Gagosian to direct independent auctioning with Sotheby’s. In collaborating with the curatorial world, Hirst is reinstating himself in the inter-relational art market, even as he capitalizes on the mass sensationalism of the Olympics in London.

Although Hirst is represented by Gagosian (for whom his most recent showcase in Hong Kong will be on view through March 19th) and White Cube, he is arguably best known for his high grossing auction sales. Most notably, the £50 million 2008 sale beautiful inside my head forever marked a revolutionary means of selling art directly through the auction house.

more images and story after the jump…

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Damien Hirst, Pharmacy installation 2002 (via the Tate)

One noted auction sale was the contents of Pharmacy a restaurant Hirst founded using one his popular recurring pharmaceutical motif. Pharmacy grossed £11 million.

The hyper-success of the auction was a climax in financial history, dually marking the peak and crash of the economic boom: investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt the exact same day as Hirst’s auction at Sotheby’s. With the international economy instantaneously floundering, Damien Hirst’s auction success could never be fully duplicated.


Sotheby’s auctioneer at beautiful inside my head forever 2008 (via The New York Times)

Hirst’s peak in 2008 marked an evolutionary point for his commercial and aesthetic future. Many of his recognizable themes were alleged to discontinue shortly thereafter, and he confirmed the aesthetic departure with a series of poorly reviewed paintings, even as his previous iconography retained popularity.

Apart from the auction record, the notorious diamond skull for the love of god sold at White Cube for $100 million, with an investing strategy to sell shares once the value accrued in the future. The skull has shown internationally, at the Rijksmusuem in Amsterdam and Palazzio Vecchio in Venice.


Damien Hirst, for the love of god 2007 (via Art Observed)

Damien Hirst has been a recognizable and merited artist since he coordinated “Freeze” with fellow Goldsmiths student, the late Angus Fairhurst, in 1988. The exhibition caught the attention of noted collector Charles Saatchi, who codified the Young British Artists as foremost contemporary figures, including YBA artists Tracey EminMarc Quinn, Jake and Dinos  Chapman. Saatchi funded Hirst’s early works, notably formaldehyde shark the Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which quickly gained popularity. The shark was ultimately purchased by American hedge fund manager Steve A. Cohen, and briefly displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Damien Hirst, the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living 1991 (via the New York Times)

While Hirst is no stranger to either commercialism or exhibition, consistently selling posters, t-shirts, and jeans to propagate his notoriety in cohesion with exhibitions, the combination curatorial acclaim with Olympic publicity fuses the realms of art and business without implicating the fiscal art market.  Not only does the Tate Modern retrospective mark a return to the artist’s upscale recognition, but it solidifies his chronological evolution as historically worthwhile.

-A. Bregman

Related Links:
Damien Hirst to head Tate Modern’s Olympic programme [The Guardian]
AO Auction Preview: Two Years After Declaring Bankruptcy Lehman Brothers Hopes to Sell Hundreds of Artworks Worth Millions at 3 Auctions in UK & US [Art Observed]
Damien Hirst Artist Biography [Gagosian Gallery]
Hirst’s Art Auction Attracts Plenty of Financial Bidders, Despite Financial Turmoil [the New York Times]
Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy: The Business Decisions that Brought Lehman Down [Daily Finance]
Charles Saatchi: Damien Hirst is ‘rather off-form’ [The Telegraph]
Artist behind 1990s boom ‘commits suicide’ [the Independent]