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HAPPENINGText: Rei Inamoto

So naturally, I had high expectations for this gallery opening. The whole notion of Damien Hirst is transcendental. He is probably the most provocative artist of the late 20th century. He is literally the superstar of the current art world. Everyone knows Damien Hirst. Everyone expects a shock from him. But that’s a lot of burden to carry on his shoulder.

Sensation Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection installed at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum, 1999

On a rainy night, I arrived at the scene to find a mob of crowds gathered in and around this tiny gallery in Upper East Side of Manhattan. People with wine glasses in their hands, people in suits, a camera crew. Within a minute of my arrival, I knew that I was at a wrong place.

I was completely appalled by the kind of crowd that was there. Typical high-society types packed the tiny gallery and they were there not to see Damien Hirsts work of course. They were there just to be seen at a Damien Hirst gallery opening. They were those pretentious crowds who could care less about what’s interesting or what’s good, but are more concerned with their appearance and what others think of them.

There was a handful of paintings displayed in the gallery. They looked like labels on the side of drugs you find on pharmacy shelves. None of them were particularly interesting or compelling. It was in fact quite disappointing.

In New York City, there are many exciting and worthwhile shows and events to go to. At the same time, however, there can be quite a few inferior and mediocre exhibits and happenings. You just have to choose the right ones.

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection
Date: October 2nd, 1999 – January 9th, 2000
Open: 11:00 – 18:00 (Closed on Monday and Tuesday)
Place: Brooklyn Museum
Address: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238
Tel: +1 718 638 5000

Text: Rei Inamoto
Photos: Rei Inamoto

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