The Art Market
A bad-boy Brit goes retail with his edgy conceptual creations.
No contemporary artist has made such a killing on the subject of death. First Damien Hirst pickled a tiger shark in formaldehyde, then he decorated a cast of a human skull with diamonds. That dazzling cranium, adorned with more than 8,500 pavé-set sparklers, recently sold for $100 million at auction.
Of course, few, if any, people have that kind of spare change these days, so Hirst has decided to "sell art to anyone who wants it" by opening two shops in London. The idea is to showcase his pricey pieces—an X-ray selfportrait will set you back about $110,000—alongside key rings ($5.25), baseball caps ($30), pencils ($3), and kids' tees (from $37), all of Hirst's own design and adorned with his imagery, such as crosses and brightly colored prescription pills.
Hirst's emporiums, both called Other Criteria, are in prime locations: One is at 36 New Bond Street, next door to Sotheby's, and the other is just a block from trendy shopping boulevard Marylebone High Street, at 14 Hinde Street. "You don't need to go into a gallery to be told what's great," Hirst says. "If something looks good, then it's good!" On that note, don't miss his butterfly-patterned orange, yellow, and celadon deck chairs ($445)—out of context, they aren't the least bit morbid. 011-44/20-7629-5800, othercriteria.com, both shops closed Sundays.