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Left: Daniel Craig with collector Victor Pinchuk — guess someone thinks they are 007. (Photo: Kate Sutton) Right: Damien Hirst proving he’s a shark with the best of them. (Photo courtesy PinchukArtCentre) (via Artforum.com)

Artforum has a first-hand report from the Damien Hirst exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev, Ukraine, and it is hard to figure out what to make of it:

If the artist’s spectacular auction at Sotheby’s last September had meant to perform the inner workings of the art world, “Requiem” offers a subtle revision, blurring the boundaries between earnestness and irony. The same could be said of the surreal program of events around the opening, which ranged from a performance by child prodigies in a puppet theater to a “make-your-own-spin-painting” session supervised by Hirst and Pinchuk, conducted the following day in the outdoor mall adjacent to the institution (also the site of a temporary pavilion affectionately referred to as “the shark tank”).

And looks like Hirst already has a buyer for his show:

In press notes, the exhibition is loosely termed a retrospective, but the majority of the works on display are new paintings, many making their world debut — and potentially final stop, if rumors are to be believed — in Kiev.

And then this dozy to finish things off:

As the official afterparty packed up, the truly steadfast bypassed familiar nightspots like Buddha Bar and Decadance and continued on to the Premiere Palace Casino. Following Hirst’s lead, Jopling, dealer Harry Blaine, artist Mat Collishaw, and curator Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst ponied up their passports and the five-hundred-dollar deposit required for entry, while those lacking foresight (or fortune) clustered in the bar outside, angling for unwanted passes from the disenchanted. For most, the process of getting in took longer than the time spent at the tables. One London dealer returned within five minutes, pushing his visibly diminished stack of chips toward one of his artists. “You can go ahead and try, but the only ones making any money are Jay and Damien.” He paused, then added, smiling: “No surprise there.”

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.