Hirst rewards lovers of his hot spots
Intrepid fans who made 30,000 mile pilgrimage win prints that could be worth thousands
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 23 January 2012
Three art lovers travelled thousands of miles and spent thousands of dollars in pursuit of a personally dedicated spot print from Damien Hirst. And hundreds more are set to follow.
The Gagosian Gallery this month put on simultaneous exhibitions of the British artist's spot paintings in its 11 sites around the world. Hirst and the gallery's top brass promised a print to those fans who visited each one.
Millicent Wilner, a director of the Gagosian Gallery in London, said: "This was structured as a global exhibition. Damien and the gallery thought it would be extraordinary if someone made it to every location. He felt that whoever did should be rewarded with some artwork."
Valentine Uhovski was the first to complete the challenge when he walked into the Gagosian's Davies Street space in London on Friday, eight days after setting out from New York. The quest took him from America to Hong Kong, Athens, Rome, Geneva and then Paris before arriving in the UK.
He said: "I always wondered what it was like to get a golden ticket from Willy Wonka. It took me 27 years and 30,000 miles over the last week, but I feel like I finally got it." Mr Uhovski, 27, was born in Russia but moved to New York aged 10. A founder of the Artruby website, he called Hirst "one of the most significant artists of our, or any, generation".
Spot prints have recently sold from $3,500 (£2,250) to $50,000, but Mr Uhovski said "no way" would he sell his print. The value of the prints will be determined by how many people make it. So far, 760 people have registered to take the challenge, Ms Wilner said. "We know others have decided to take longer in completing the journey."
Jeff Chu walked into the New York gallery minutes after Mr Uhovski to complete the challenge. Mr Chu, a journalist for Fast Company magazine, will receive the second print in the edition and said he too would not be selling it.
Tan Wong, a founder of art blog Arrested Motion, became the third to complete the challenge, arriving in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Art fan's journey
Valentine Uhovski took eight days and travelled 30,000 miles to the 11 Gagosian galleries around the world. How much would it cost to retrace his steps, and knock off 10,000 miles in the process?
New York to Beverly Hills: 2,456 miles. £175
Beverly Hills to Hong Kong: 7,238 miles. £421
Hong Kong to Athens: 5,307 miles. £345
Athens to Rome: 655 miles. £122
Rome to Geneva: 431 miles. £69
Geneva to Paris: 257 miles. £63
Paris to London: 211 miles. £67
London back to New York: 3,459 miles. £346
Total distance: 20,014 miles. Total price*: £1,608
*If you take the cheapest of cheap deals (on expedia) and do it this week.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West