The Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: The dottiest scavenger hunt ever
My latest escapade was a complete departure from anything I've attempted before: the Damien Hirst Spot Challenge - a kind of global art scavenger hunt.
The brief: dash across datelines visiting 11 galleries showing the artist's Spot Painting retrospective, get your official "been there, spotted that" card stamped, and as a reward, receive a spot print personally signed and dedicated to you by Hirst himself.
It was one of the stressful, yet exhilarating adventures I've ever undertaken. I can safely say that although I was in Paris in the morning, Geneva at lunchtime and Rome in the afternoon, I saw as a more stuff that on other trips with a more leisurely schedule. Those Japanese tourist buses are onto something!
The full spot-by-spot journey is thrashed out in a series of blog posts below. Who knows if Hirst will even repeat this kind of thing (it took him a year to deliver our print), but you can trace my journey (NY -> LA -> London -> Paris -> Geneva -> Rome -> Athens -> HK) now:
SPOT #1-3: New York, New York, New York!
- The Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Am I dotty? (3 down, 8 to go!) in which I snag 3 spots in one city and start seriously thinking about doing the challenge
- A challenge on top of the challenge in which I impose an additional challenge on myself: visit all 8 countries using only my signature Traffic Cone Bag as luggage
- Minimalism to go aka my trip list, and how I managed to fit 8 countries' worth of gear into one (ok 2) small Traffic Cone Bags
SPOT #4: New York to LA
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: New York to LA (4 down, 7 to go!) in which I meet the diminutive Ms Spielberg senior and even sample her blintzes
SPOT #5-6: LA to London
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: LA to London (6 down, 6 to go!) in which I encounter the sobering Occupy London protest and reflect on why the heck am I chasing spots when others are just chasing a living wage
SPOT #7: London to Paris
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: London to Paris (7 down, 4 to go!) in which I am whisked to Paree on the TGV, am gifted a book on Picasso and eat a Corsican lasagne
SPOT #8: Paris to Geneva
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Paris to Geneva (8 down, 3 to go!) in which I get to ook at a bunch of Swatch watches and Rolexes and not much else
SPOT #9: Geneva to Rome
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Geneva to Rome (9 down, 2 to go!) in which I stay in the most charming little hostel and do as Romans don't really do
SPOT #10: Rome to Athens
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Rome to Athens (10 down, 1 to go!) in which I pop up in Syntagma Square amidst the riots and again question why I am chasing spots when a whole nation is chasing a better standard of living
SPOT #11: Athens to Hong Kong
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Athens to Hong Kong (11 down, FINISHED!) in which I end up in the most bizarre budget accommodation imaginable (google Mirador Mansion) and treated to dinner by colleagues of Mark Mobius, from my Bike Friday heydays...
IT'S TIME TO COLLECT...
- Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: It's time to collect the print we've been promised. It took a few months to arrive, and it turned out to be bigger than Britain...
|Picking up my Spot Challenge print from Gagosian Gallery with artist Pamela Talese - who included a homage to Hirst in her recent show, Sugar and Fat|