museum review - Damien Hirst

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Visit the Tate Modern in London to see the Damien Hirst exhibition, part of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 festival, from April 4 to September 9, 2012.


Opening this month, the first major survey of Damien Hirst’s work ever held in the UK can be visited at Tate Modern. Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, the exhibition will provide a journey through two decades of Hirst’s iconic works. It will also form part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

One of the most prominent artists to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s, Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated Freeze, an exhibition of his own work and that of his friends and fellow Goldsmiths College students, staged in a disused London warehouse.

The exhibition brings together over 70 of the artist’s works, including sculptures from the early 1990s such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which he suspended a shark in formaldehyde; and Mother and Child Divided, a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf. Also on show will be important vitrines, such as A Thousand Years (1990), in which the cycle of life is represented by a cow’s head, flies, and insect-o-cutor.

Cabinets displaying rows of pills, instruments, and medical packaging will also be on display, as well as paintings made throughout Hirst’s career from his spot, spin, butterfly, and fly series. In addition, two major installations will be on view: In and Out of Love (1991), an installation with live butterflies, which has not been shown in its entirety since its creation; and Pharmacy (1992), a room-sized representation of a real pharmacy. To accompany the exhibition, the artist’s iconic diamond-covered skull For the Love of God (2007) will be shown in the Turbine Hall. Presented as a free display to coincide with the opening 12 weeks of the Damien Hirst exhibition, the work will be housed in a special viewing room from April 4 to June 24, 2012.

For the Love of God is a life-sized platinum cast of an 18th century human skull, covered by 8,601 flawless diamonds, and inset with the original skull’s teeth. At the front of the cranium is a 52.4-carat pink diamond. A reminder of the fragility of life, the work can be viewed as a glorious, devotional, defiant, or provocative gesture in the face of death itself.



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