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February 2, 2012

A Letter to Damien Hirst

Good Day Mr. Hirst, Mr. Gagosian,

Your marketing concept is an old-school Shop Around - The Complete Spot Challenge - on a global scale. And I truly wanted to win the print you're giving to everyone who visits all eleven Gagosian galleries to see the spot paintings.  However, I'm not able to make the trip to Hong Kong, or even Beverly Hills while your shows are up (January 12 to March 17, 2012).

Disappointed by my lack of money and my reluctance to make such a cursory visit to some of these places, I've made a virtual response.

If you think my project minimizes your work, you're mistaken. It is an inspiration for my process, which is digital, but full of the same kinds of decisions I've heard you talk about making - decision facing all art makers.

I first saw your work in the new Block Addition of LACMA, and thought your patterns of recognizable stuff like pills or butterflies are beautiful. Then the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver showed some of these same style pieces and a bull, pierced by arrows àla Saint Sebastian, in a tank of formaldehyde. Like some of my favorite philosopher's writing, your martyr made me think about how we treat an  animal before he becomes beef. That bull, shot and hung like a martyr, yanked me back to my childhood, and the guilty joy of reading the lives of the martyred saints. So much potential energy and emotion floats in that tank of formaldehyde.
So, given your approach to making spot paintings, I am making canvases that go farther. Mine are close to infinite. They require no natural resources like canvas or paint; very little electricity, less than lighting a gallery; and they can be enjoyed by anyone with a computer and a modern browser. 

To produce this volume of work - as you've discovered - requires me to use other labor than my own - like computers, javascript, HTML5, SVG. You've already set this precident - I don't need to paint every spot. I'm sure there are ways to slim the code on these pieces, which is something I admire, but to advance coding is not the intent of these works. Each one offers a visual experience, some very subtle, and each follows from an aesthetic question generated from the previous ones.

Like you, I'm a conceptual artist: it's not the brush strokes that are important, but their results.  I hope you and everyone who sees my virtual inCompletable Spot Paintings enjoys the process. I wish I could see yours.
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This page contains a single entry by TT published on February 2, 2012 11:54 AM.

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