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Damien Hirst (1965 - )
Related: contemporary art - British art
Related: Damien Hirst Google gallery
Damien Hirst (born 1965 in Bristol) is a British artist and probably the most famous of the group that has been dubbed "Young British Artists" (or YBAs). He is best known for his Natural History series in which dead animals (such as a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde.
He studied fine arts at Goldsmith's College, University of London from 1986 to 1989. In 1988 he gained attention for curating the student exhibition, Freeze, in a warehouse in East London. His first solo exhibition, In and Out of Love, was held at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London in 1991. His autobiography, I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, was published in 1998.
His works include:
- The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), composed of a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde. This piece was nominated for a Turner Prize.
- Pharmacy (http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=21809&searchid=5083) (1992)
- Amonium Biborate (1993)
- Away from the Flock (http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de/d/exhibition/sensation/hirst.html) (1994), composed of a sheep in a glass tank of formaldehyde.
- Mother and Child Divided (http://www.af-moma.no/english/kunstnere/hirst_large_1.html), composed of a cow and a calf sliced in half in a glass tank of formaldehyde.
- Two Fucking and Two Watching, which 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
- Hirst also painted a simple colour pattern for the Beagle 2 probe. This pattern was to be used to calibrate the probe's cameras after it had landed on Mars.
More recently, Hirst is venturing into the world of commerce by drawing up plans to open his own sea-food restaurant in the seaside town of Ilfracombe in the UK. Hirst's previous restaurant, Pharmacy, located in Notting Hill, London, closed in September 2003.
On 24 May 2004, a fire in a storage warehouse destroyed many works from the Saatchi collection, including, it is believed, some of Hirst's. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_Hirst [Jul 2004]
9/11 wicked but a work of art, says Damien Hirst The artist Damien Hirst said last night he believed the terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks "need congratulating" because they achieved "something which nobody would ever have thought possible" on an artistic level. --Damien Hirst, Wednesday September 11, 2002, The Guardian
Hirst apologises for calling 9/11 'a work of art'
The artist Damien Hirst today apologised for congratulating the September 11 hijackers on a "visually stunning" work of art in an interview published last week on the eve of the first anniversary of the terror attacks. --Thursday September 19 2002, The Guardian
Aestheticization of 9/11 [...]
In the aftermath of September 11, Damien Hirst gave an interview with the BBC in which he discussed what it would mean to view the WTC attack as a work of art. As much as I bristle at the idea of turning to Damien Hirst for political commentary, his ideas are of particular interest to me, as a resident of Washington, DC, where the landscape increasingly resembles a surrealist art installation. Here are some of his almost aphoristic statements, taken from the BBC transcript:
I think there's something pretty surreal about taking a mode of transport like an aeroplane and crashing into a building and turning it into a weapon is something which is kind of out there - on the level of an artwork.
The thing about 9/11 is that it's kind of like an artwork in its own right. It was wicked, but it was devised in this way for this kind of impact. It was devised visually. David Hockney said that it was the "most wicked piece of artwork" - a lot of people have compared it to a work of art.
Of course, it's visually stunning and you've got to hand it to them on some level because they've achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible - especially to a country as big as America. So on one level they kind of need congratulating, which a lot of people shy away from, which is a very dangerous thing.
I think the idea of looking at the 11 September attacks as an artwork is a very difficult thing to do. But I don't think artists look at it in a different way.
There's a visual language that exists that changes all the time - if you put a jar of Vaseline and a cucumber is somebody's trolley in a supermarket then they're going to deny it's theirs at the checkpoint because those items have got sexual references.
I think our visual language has been changed by what happen on 11 September - an aeroplane becomes a weapon after 11 September and if they fly close to buildings people start panicking. Our visual language is constantly changing in this way and I think as an artist you're constantly on the lookout for things like that.
Hirst's point that 9/11 changed our visual language is particularly true for most of us on the planet, who were neither injured in the attack nor knew any of the victims, and whose relationship to the event was consequently mediated by television. For us, the visual elements of the attack are in some ways the most familiar to us. And Hirst is right: who does not "see" skyscrapers, airplanes, or the New York skyline differently? All of these things have stood as icons of the modern West, icons which Bin Laden successfully subverted with one masterful stroke. Moreover, like a great deal of contemporary art, the attack would have been nothing if it were not for the gaze of the spectator - us - a gaze that provided the art with its meaning by reading into the icons the cultural and personal meanings that they hold for us. And yet I can't help but wonder if Hirst's aestheticization of 9/11 isn't a dodge - a way to live with the unbearable. I wonder this because I do it myself. -- Michael Shurkin ,http://www.zeek.net/art_0301.htm [Aug 2004]
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