20 January 2014
At the invitation of Disney, Hirst has remade Mickey Mouse as one of his iconic series of spot paintings. Hirst follows in the footsteps of artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg in interpreting Disney's best-loved character. He comments, “Mickey Mouse represents happiness and the joy of being a kid and I have reduced his shape down to the basic elements of a few simple spots. I hope people love it, because it is still instantly recognisable - Mickey is such a universal and powerful icon.“
‘Mickey’ was auctioned in aid of Kids Company as part of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Thursday 13 February. Based in London and established in 1996, the charity provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. Hirst has supported Kids Company for over six years and is a longtime advocate of their use of art therapy. In 2012, the artist and Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh hosted a day-event in London's Covent Garden Piazza which involved over 150 schoolchildren making spin paintings with the artist.
On the occasion of the unveiling of ‘Mickey’, Batmanghelidjh stated: “Maltreated children often feel very alone. Having been victimised, they lose their sense of power and potency. In cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse they find a friend, sometimes a protector and the hope that one day they’ll leave the harm they have endured. Damien Hirst to the children of Kids Company has been a genuine hero. He has mobilised resources to help transform lives by offering children a brighter future.”
Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe adds: “As an icon of cartoon and consumer culture and one of the classic designs of the twentieth century, Mickey Mouse has provided inspiration to generations of great artists [...] Damien’s is an exciting and hugely significant addition to this rich artistic vein of Mickey depictions. Taking his own universally recognised painterly language – the spots – and applying it in a striking yet simple composition to Mickey, the resulting image speaks of the profound way that both icons have entered our collective consciousness. We are honoured to play a part in raising funds for such a worthy cause as Kids Company.”
‘Mickey’ was on view to the public as part of Christie's auction’s pre-sale exhibition from Saturday 8 February.