LONDON.- Since the emergence of the "Young British Artists" in the 1990s Damien Hirst has been one of the art world's greatest innovators. One characteristic of Hirst's philosophy is the idea of making art more accessible to the public—as represented by his decision to sell his art in the upcoming ground-breaking Sotheby's auction (September 15-16) of his recent works, “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever.” As Hirst says, "It's a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art."
In 2005 Hirst partnered with Hugh Allan and Frank Dunphy to form Other Critiera with Jason Beard as creative director. An independent publishing company that publishes between 8 and 12 books a year, Other Criteria collaborates closely with established and emerging artists on artist-based publications. These include books, prints, artist's editions, posters and clothing. The aim of Other Criteria is to bring affordable art of the highest quality to a wide audience. The books are designed to complement and showcase an artist's work without compromise. Each book is an artwork in itself and highly collectible. Abrams began distributing Other Criteria books to the U.S. market this past spring.
Hirst says of the publishing venture, "Other Criteria makes objects and books created by artists to an exceptional standard. I don't think art has ever been as popular as it is today, and Other Criteria wants to sell affordable art of the highest quality, including good value books and editions, to everyone who wants it. My feeling is, you don't need to know about art or go into a gallery to be told what's good. If it looks good, then it is good!"
This October Other Criteria will open a showroom on Bond Street in London to exhibit high-end editions, opening with a series of gold sculptures by Damien Hirst. This launch will be followed by a Marylebone store (also in London) to open in December, which will offer an opportunity for the general public to purchase new and original art in a relaxed setting. The Marylebone location will not only sell limited edition prints and artwork editions, but also cutting edge contemporary art books—some of which are signed limited editions—t-shirts, post cards and other items produced or selected by Other Criteria.
Notable upcoming Other Criteria publications include The Mug by Sarah Lucas (one of the leading figures in the generation of Young British Artists) and Olivier Garbay (the French poet), a 600 page alphabetical ideas book priced at $150.00 (signed edition, $270.00) to be published this November. Damien Hirst's book Chrysopoeia will be published in the spring of 2009 and will feature his as yet unseen gold sculpture editions to be launched in the Bond Street showroom this fall. Chrysopoeia will be 33 pages and priced at $35.00.