Everyone knows Damien Hirst and his art. He is (was?) the enfant terrible of the British art world. What I didn’t realise though, was that throughout the fame and infamy he has been an avid art collector. A collector on an almost industrial scale it would seem from his new art gallery Newport Street Gallery.
Because that’s what this new impressive gallery is: his.
It is purely for the display of his own collection and the building is big. Really big. 37,000 square feet big. So, a vanity project on the face of it, but the building is pretty spectacular and the artwork on display equally so.
I went to see the opening John Hoyland exhibition and it was great. Free entry, enormous rooms giving the artwork space to breathe, fantastic architecture (I dare you not to take a photo of the impressive staircases!), and then there is the restaurant…
Done in collaboration with acclaimed chef Mark Hix Pharmacy 2 is a real treat. It looks amazing with Hirst’s own ‘Medicine Cabinets’ and ‘Kaleidoscope’ butterfly paintings on the walls. You are literally sitting inside a Damien Hirst artwork as you tuck into your lunch. You become part of the art and it works. Of course it’s gaudy and over-the-top but that’s the point and it all works spectacularly well.