Damien Hirst has been in the news lately. Another artist with a big London exhibition opening in 2012, David Hockney, has accused the (no-longer-particularly) Young British Artist of being "an insult to craftsmen."
You've got a while to wait before Hirst's blockbuster opens at Tate Modern (in April), so if you want to be more informed before joining Team Hockney or Team Hirst in this feud, we recommend popping along to one of the Gagosian Galleries from next week to see what the fuss is about.
The two Gagosian Galleries are showing Hirst's Spot Paintings from next Thursday. These are some of the very pieces that upset Hockney as Hirst had his assistants make them for him, saying, "I couldn't be fucking arsed doing it".
As well as enabling you to get in on Hirstmania (or siding with his critics) early, the Gagosian shows are also free (tickets to the Tate show are going to set you back about £14.)
The other fun thing about these shows is that all branches of the Gagosian around the world (New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong) are all displaying Hirst's many (more than 300 in total) Spot Paintings at the same time. So you'll be taking part in a global assessment of these dotty (in more ways than one) pieces.
The Gagosian is also launching Issue 3 of their iPad app providing an interactive, in-depth look at the series of more than 90 spot paintings.
Damien Hirst's The Complete Spot Paintings will be at the Gagosian Galleries in London (6–24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD and 17–19 Davies Street, London, W1K 3DE) from 12 January until 18 February. Visit www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/damien-hirst to find out more. Entrance is free.