Damien Hirst  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Damien Hirst (born June 7, 1965) is an English artist and the most prominent of the group that has been dubbed "Young British Artists" (or YBAs). He dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s and is internationally renowned.

His early career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi, but increasing frictions came to a head in 2003 and the liaison ended.

Death is a central theme in his work. He is best known for his Natural History series, in which dead animals (such as a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved, sometimes cut-up, in formaldehyde. His iconic work is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14ft shark in a vitrine.

He came to international attention in 2002 for his controversial remarks on 9/11.

The July 2007 sale of Lullaby Spring made him the world's most expensive living artist.

His most recent work is "For The Love of God", an 18th century skull covered in 8,601 diamonds


His works include:

  • "Spin paintings", made on a spinning circular surface, and "spot paintings", which are rows of randomly-coloured circles; these have been imitated in commercial graphics.
  • In and Out of Love (1991), an installation of potted plants, caterpillars and monochrome canvases painted with sugar solution and glue. There were also (in a separate room) tables with ashtrays containing used cigarette butts. Eventually, the caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies, and the insects become fixed to the surfaces of the canvases. In its now fixed form, the work is held by the Yale Center for British Art and is on regular exhibit there.
  • The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde. This piece was one of the works in his Turner Prize nomination show.
  • Pharmacy(1992), a life-size recreation of a chemist's shop.
  • A Thousand Years (1991), composed of a vitrine with a glass division. In one half is the severed head of a cow on the floor; in the other is an insect electrocutor. Maggots introduced into the vitrine feed off the cow and then develop into flies that are killed by the electrocutor.
  • Amonium Biborate (1993)
  • Away from the Flock Away from the Flock (1994), composed of a dead sheep in a glass tank of formaldehyde.
  • Arachidic Acid (1994) an early example of Hirst's spot paintings.
  • Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything (1996) multiple cows in a line head-to-tail, divided cross-sectionally into equal rectangular tanks of formaldehyde, equally-spaced, each containing about 3 feet of the animals.
  • Hymn (1996), a gigantic head and upper body, based on an anatomical model of the human body.
  • Mother and Child Divided, composed of a cow and a calf sliced in half in a glass tank of formaldehyde.
  • Two Fucking and Two Watching, includes a rotting cow and bull. This work was banned from exhibition in New York by public health officials.
  • God, composed of a cabinet containing pharmaceutical products.
  • The Stations of the Cross (2004), a series of twelve photographs depicting the final moments of Jesus Christ, made in collaboration with the photographer David Bailey.
  • The Virgin Mother, a massive sculpture depicting a pregnant female human, with layers removed from one side to expose the fÅ“tus, muscle and tissue layers, and skull underneath. This work was purchased by real estate magnate Aby Rosen for display on the plaza of one of his properties, the Lever House, in New York City.
  • The Wrath of God (2005), a new version of a shark in formaldehyde.
  • "The Inescapable Truth", (2005). Glass, steel, dove, human skull and formaldehyde solution.
  • "The Sacred Heart of Jesus", (2005). Perspex, bull's heart, silver, assorted needles, scalpels, and formaldehyde solution.
  • "Faithless", (2005). Butterflies and household gloss on canvas
  • "The Hat Makes de Man", (2005). Painted bronze that simulates wood and hats.
  • "The Death of God", (2006). Household gloss on canvas, human skull, knife, coin and sea shells. This painting, which is a part of a group of others which were made in Mexico, are believed to be "the beginning of Hirst's Mexican period".
  • As of March 2007, Damien's exhibition titled Superstition, was a collection of 28 canvases covered in preserved butterflies and household paint inspired by stained glass windows. Superstition garnered over 25 million and placed Hirst as the most successful/most expensive living artist.
  • "For The Love of God", an 18th century skull covered in 8,601 diamonds.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Damien Hirst" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools