Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red Rag To a Bull vs. Other Criteria?


A report from Bloomberg explains that Damien Hirst has opened a second Other Criteria ( store in London. Some may recall from past Myartspace Blog articles that Other Criteria is Hirst’s publishing and merchandising venture. Of the store Hirst has stated, “I don’t think art has ever been as popular as it is today and Other Criteria aims to sell affordable art of the highest quality to everyone who wants it.” . Apparently the price for Other Criteria art and merchandise ranges from $5 to $5,800.

Some art world insiders view Other Criteria as a jab at the traditional art market. After all, the first Other Criteria store was opened next to Sotheby’s shortly after Hirst’s “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever.” which took place at the auction house. Hirst’s break from the traditional brick & mortar art market stirred shock waves of criticism from gallery owners throughout the world. Needless to say, many gallerists feared that top billed artists would decide to take their art and career into their own hands by following Hirst’s independent lead. You can’t blame Hirst for being an entrepreneur .

On the other side of the UK art spectrum, the Stuckists-- as reported by Bloomberg-- have opened up their own online ‘store’ at The site states, “Red Rag To A Bull is a radical institution dedicated to the pursuit of "FREEDOM, TRUTH and JUSTICE in the art world and BEYOND". And also overblown statements.”. The purpose of the site is “for CREATIVE CRITICAL REVIEW and should be treated as such“. The sites goes on to state that, “ALL images and any proposed sale of these images is designed to create critical dialogue and may or may not be what they first appear to be.”
In a sense the site is a conceptual anti-conceptual work in progress-- if there is such a thing. Needless to say, if it had been created by anyone else it would have probably been reviewed in a art magazine or two by now. On a side note: Readers of the Myartspace Blog may recall my interview with Charles Thomson -- Co-Founder of the Stuckists -- which was posted in October of 2006.
A collage by Cartrain involving Damien Hirst's 'For the Love of God'. Cha-Ching with an extra Cha.

Viewing the Red Rag To a Bull online store I noticed that one of its directives is to support CarTrain , the 16 year old street artist who was recently threatened by Damien Hirst’s legal team on allegations of copyright infringement. CarTrain, had created, distributed, and sold prints involving a parody of Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’. It seems that Hirst was not thrilled to discover that a young graffiti artist had profited from prints involving his copyright protected works-- nevermind the fact that he himself has infringed on copyright in the past (reminds one of the Shepard Fairey vs. Baxter Orr issue).
That said, due to the fame of ‘For the Love of God’ I’m sure CarTrain’s Hirst parodies would be considered “fair use”-- at least in the United States. After all, the images by CarTrain served as a social comment about Hirst’s status in UK society as well as the art world in general. I don’t think there was any confusion as to who created what. CarTrain established dialogue with his parody.

Cartrain has some strong support-- Stuckists James Cauty, Jamie Reid, and Billy Childish have created various prints and other products that parody Damien Hirst’s artwork. Parodies of works by D*Face and the Chapman Brothers can also be found on the site.
Links of Interest:
Hirst Opens Second Shop, Defies Slump With 3.50 Pound Keychains -- Bloomberg
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange
London Calling


Anonymous said...

I like Damien Hirst and the Stuckists. The mess of them are critical of Charles Saatchi.Hirst is a mad cap and Thomson is not far from it.

JafaBrit's Art said...

Oh gosh I once got into a heated discussion with Thomson lol! It certainly was enlightening, although I am not sure I can totally go along with their manifesto. I like so many different kinds of work and can't bring myself to dismiss another artists right to express themselves even if it seems like a load of shite half the time. If I had to choose between Hirst and the STuckists though, I would choose the Stuckists.

HarryR said...

The Stuckists have nothing to do with Red Rag to a Bull. It's an invention of the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop and Private Ladies and Gentlemen's Club for Art, Leisure and the Disruptive Betterment of Culture. This is due to open as a space in London in April and is run by Steve Lowe, formally of the aquarium L-13. None of the artists he represents are Stuckists. Billy Childish left the group in 2001.

Balhatain said...

Harry, thanks for the comment. Everything I've read points to the Stuckists. I'll look into it further.