Brit Art Hotspot

Fun, flashy collectibles line up alongside contemporary art and a boggling array of brilliant books at this new SoHo space.

Cathedral Ring

Expect exciting works by the grown-up kids of Brit art and new artists at Other Criteria , the newly opened gallery and retail space on Soho’s Broome Street.  Artist Damien Hirst is behind the U.K. established gallery and purists might puke at a comparison to Andy Warhol, but what the hell—we will make one anyway.  Mr. Hirst is famous for his pop star friends and central role in London’s artsy party scene. Preferring less of the limelight personally than Mr. Warhol,  Mr. Hirst nevertheless promotes the artists he represents at Other Criteria in a similar way, encouraging appearances and interactions to raise awareness of new exhibits and art happenings.  

At Other Criteria  Mr. Hirsts’ cache of international artists will put their stamp on one-off decorative pieces with an upscale, punky vibe. Skulls may be old hat motif-wise for the cultural elite but they remain the go-to ornament of choice on the edgier mantelpieces of suburbia, thanks to Mr. Hirst’s 2007 work For the Love of God, a diamond-encrusted, platinum cast of an 18th-century human skull. Valued at fifty million pounds, the piece caught fire PR-wise around the world. 

Currently enjoying renewed buzz is photographer Polly Borland’s book, Bunny, (published by Other Criteria) featuring photographs taken over a five-year period of Game of Thrones’  Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth). “I am all about the printed page,” said Australian-born Ms. Borland at the Other Criteria opening during Frieze week. “But I miss the independence magazines once had with photography. There seem to be more rules now.” 

Limited editions of  works by other artists Mr. Hirst represents, including Yorkshire-based Harland Miller, can be had at Other Criteria, too. Celebrated for his work as a writer and artist, particularly his watercolor and graphite adaptions of classic Penguin book covers, Mr. Miller chuckled over the location of his most famous work, Bridlington  Ninety Three Million Miles From the Sun. “It’s owned by a Texan,” he told the Observer. “I love that, but I can’t imagine why the guy wanted it. Maybe to remind him that somewhere in the world the weather is pretty much always bloody miserable!” 

  Brit Art Hotspot