Designed by the British architects Caruso St John (Britain’s gallery builder gem, see the new Mayfair Gagosian which also opens in October), its zigzag roof stores Hirst’s vast collection of artworks in this new 37,000 sq ft space, costing Hirst merely £25m. Welcome Newport Street Gallery, free to the public.
“Damien has a long connection with the building, which he purchased in 2003, It used to be one of his studios. The high ceilings are perfectly suited to displaying art, so it made sense to develop the gallery there.” After working closely with Caruso St Jogn for 10 years, the gallery finally opens its doors today, with the inaugural exhibition, paintings by the late British artist, John Hoyland.
Hoyland and Hirst didn’t start on the right foot… in fact the opposite. In 1999 Hoyland spoke out against YBA “…fashion and marketing. Hirst is becoming an entrepreneur . . . Artists should not farm their work out.” or, “I don’t think you make great art unless you paint it yourself.” By 2009 the pair became friends — as they shared a similar working class background (Yorkshire families) — and, paying by standing order, Hirst bought many of Hoyland’s paintings that now seduce on Newport Street’s white walls.
‘People said: You can’t be an artist and a curator, you can’t be both, I’ll show you something, I’ll show you a different way,’ Damien Hirst told Nicholas Serota in a 2012 interview. Now we see.
Newport Street Gallery is now open to the public.