Punta della Dogana looks to the past

Cristina Ruiz: This exhibition, entitled "Prima Materia", is worth the trip alone for the spectacular juxtaposition in its central gallery of Arte Povera works by Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto and others, with work made by artists of the Japanese Mono-Ha [School of Things] movement who used the same humble materials as their European counterparts at almost exactly the same time. MORE

Tue, 28 May 2013 13:01:00 GMT

Out, damn'd spot!

Cristina Ruiz: To sell or not to sell: that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to hang on to my Damien Hirst spot print as it’s pretty cool or to take arms against my declining bank balance and offer it to the highest bidder? First a recap: last year I spent $3,250 of my own (very limited) funds travelling around 11 Gagosian galleries on three continents to see simultaneous shows of Hirst’s spot paintings. MORE

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 10:10:00 GMT | 6 comments

The prize is in sight

Cristina Ruiz: The moment is almost upon us. It’s been seven months since 128 intrepid travellers (including yours truly) completed the Damien Hirst spot challenge by visiting the artist’s spot paintings exhibition in all 11 branches of the Gagosian Gallery around the world—but now, finally, our prize is nearly ready. MORE

Wed, 05 Sep 2012 20:07:00 GMT | 2 comments

Crossing the finish line in LA

Cristina Ruiz: The sun is shining in Beverly Hills and Hirst’s spots look great in the last Gagosian branch on my tour. I took a 7am flight from New York to get here and to keep costs low I’m heading straight back to the airport to catch a flight back to New York after I finish. MORE

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 16:39:00 GMT | 11 comments

New York attitude

Cristina Ruiz: It’s a good thing I didn’t start the spot tour in New York because, if I had, I probably would have given up after the first gallery. Why is it that Gagosian staff here, in what must surely be the three most commercially successful galleries in the international franchise, are always so caustic? Even when they’re polite and (reluctantly) helpful, they can’t be bothered to look at you for longer than three seconds so that all conversations take place while they’re staring at their computers. MORE

Wed, 08 Feb 2012 08:58:00 GMT | 6 comments

A long night in Hong Kong

Cristina Ruiz: Whoever said money can’t buy you happiness has not travelled from London to Hong Kong and back again in economy class in two days. The flights were long, the children were loud and the movies were stupid—but this trip marks the final, most gruelling leg of my Hirst spot tour and nobody said it would be easy. MORE

Mon, 06 Feb 2012 19:05:00 GMT

The price of budget travel: a day in Athens

Cristina Ruiz: Removing pre-arranged seats from a flight unleashes the basest, darkest instincts of humankind. So to fly Easyjet, “Europe’s leading airline”, is not just to travel cheaply but also to be a voluntary participant in a psychological experiment akin to those carried out by the CIA in the 1950s. MORE

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 19:06:00 GMT | 2 comments

Racing through Rome while others cross the finish line

Cristina Ruiz: Rome. City of Genius. Home to Bernini, Borromini, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. Centre of the High Renaissance and then the Baroque. And now, thanks to the dynamic duo of Damien Hirst and Larry Gagosian, host to 18 paintings of spots in varying sizes. MORE

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT | 2 comments

Geneva and Rome: running the gamut from Swiss watches to Italian strikes

Cristina Ruiz: My journey today has been planned with military precision. There is no room for manoeuvre; no margin of error. I rely on French trains and Swiss efficiency to complete my task and make it from Paris to the Gagosian Gallery in Geneva and then to Rome (where I have a free place to stay) by Thursday evening. MORE

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 20:42:00 GMT

On the continent: London to Paris

Cristina Ruiz: The alarm goes off at 4am; just over an hour later I am boarding a train to Paris from St Pancras station. It's not fun getting up at this ungodly hour but at €39, the 5:40am train to Paris was the best deal I could find, so here I am. MORE

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 08:48:00 GMT

Two artists connect the dots

Cristina Ruiz: For Hirst, spots are happy things. He made the spot paintings, he says, in an attempt to create paintings “without angst”. Not so for the other artist who has made a career out of painting spots, Yayoi Kusama. MORE

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 19:29:00 GMT

The journey begins: London Britannia and Davies streets

Cristina Ruiz: Three hundred people, including yours truly, have registered to take part in the Hirst spot challenge according to the Gagosian Gallery. The artist, however, probably won’t be joining us on this mega-trek ‘round all 11 international outposts. MORE

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:38:00 GMT

Challenge accepted: our editor-at-large goes on a Hirst-spotting tour

Cristina Ruiz: For the Chinese, 2012 is the year of the dragon but it is also, indisputably, the year of Damien Hirst. He is Britain’s unofficial Olympic artist, having secured London’s most prestigious venue for contemporary art, Tate Modern, for an astounding five months starting in April (Gerhard Richter got just three). MORE

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 19:09:00 GMT | 3 comments

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Cristina Ruiz

Over the next six weeks, Cristina Ruiz, our editor-at-large, has taken up the challenge to try to visit all 11 Gagosian galleries showing Damien Hirst’s spot paintings. Follow her as she blogs about her travels here.