Millicent Wilner, a director at Gagosian Gallery in London, was standing before a gaggle of reporters and photographers at the art dealer’s space on West 21st Street, talking about Damien Hirst’s spot paintings. There are more than 300 she said. They will be on view at all 11 Gagosian galleries worldwide (a fact all the art journalists in the room were well aware of by that point). They comprise spots ranging from one millimeter in diameter to five feet in diameter. The most spots on any of the paintings is 25,781. The biggest spot painting is in the back of the gallery and is about 40 feet long.
“Could you tell us a bit about what it all means?” a journalist with an English accent interrupted.
“Uh,” Ms. Wilner said. A pause. “I think he was trying to move from an expressionist kind of art.” She went on for a time until the group of journalists was told there would be no more questions. Any other questions would be answered privately, after the photo opp.
“Is everyone happy to take Damien’s photo in front of here?” a publicist asked, pointing at another spot painting. There were some scattered grunts in the affirmative.
And there he was. Damien Hirst. He wore a hideous white blazer, sagging blue jeans, an unfortunately form-fitting salmon-colored T-shirt, a variety of silver chains around his neck, large gaudy rings that eclipsed the fingers of each hand and a bright orange beanie of an attention-calling-hue that people wear when they go hunting so that their friends don’t shoot them.
“Wow,” he said. “So many people.”
Mr. Hirst shifted his weight awkwardly on the balls of his feet. He tucked his hands into his pockets. He smiled awkwardly. He pulled up his nostrils into a piggy face and chuckled to himself. He picked subtly at his left ear.
“Good?” he asked, then walked away.
Beyond that, there were a bunch of white canvases in the room with spots on them. There was nothing else worthy of mention.