Damien Hirst

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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.

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 14-foot tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Its sale in 2004 made him the second most expensive living artist (after Jasper Johns). 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.

He is also known for "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.

During the 1990s his career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi, but increasing frictions came to a head in 2003 and the liaison ended.

Damien Hirst: The Last Supper




Damien Hirst was born in Bristol and grew up in Leeds. His father was a motor mechanic/car salesman, who left the family when Hirst was 12. His mother, Mary, was a lapsed Catholic, who worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau and says she lost control of him when he was young. He was arrested on two occasions for shoplifting.[1] However, Hirst sees her as someone who would not tolerate rebellion: she cut up his punk bondage trousers and heated one of his Sex Pistols vinyl records on the cooker to turn it into a fruit bowl. He says, "If she didn't like how I was dressed, she would quickly take me away from the bus stop." She did, though, encourage his liking for drawing, which was his only successful educational subject.[2]

His art teacher "pleaded" for Hirst to be allowed to enter the sixth form, where he took two A-levels, achieving an "E" grade in art. He went to Leeds College of Art and Design, although the first time he applied he was refused admission. He worked for two years on London building sites, then studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London (1986–89), although again he was refused a place the first time he applied. While a student, Hirst had a placement at a mortuary, an experience that influenced his later themes and materials.

Hirst has admitted serious drug and alcohol problems during a ten year period from the early 1990s: "I started taking cocaine and drink ... I turned into a babbling fucking wreck."[3] During this time he was renowned for his wild behaviour, and extrovert acts, including, for example, putting a cigarette in the end of his penis in front of journalists. He was an habitué of the high profile Groucho Club in Soho, London, and was banned on occasion for his behaviour.

In 2002 Hirst gave up smoking and drinking, although the short-term result was that his wife Maia "had to move out because I was so horrible." He met Joe Strummer (former lead singer of The Clash) at Glastonbury in 1995, becoming good friends and going on annual family holidays with him. Just before Christmas 2002, Strummer died of a heart attack. This had a profound effect on Hirst, who said, "It was the first time I felt mortal." He subsequently devoted a lot of time to founding a charity, Strummerville, to help young musicians.[2] He has also taken an interest in Christianity.

He is married to a Californian, Maia Norman, and has two sons, Connor, born in 1995 and Cassius, born in 2000. Since the birth of Connor, he has spent most of his time at his remote farmhouse, a 300 year old former inn, in north Devon. Maia surfs, but Hirst doesn't. They have a collie, Lucy.

Keith, Monday, 28 May 2007 22:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Damien Hirst: Hymn


Keith, Monday, 28 May 2007 22:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Some Comfort Gained From The Acceptance Of The Inherent Lies In Everything by Damien Hirst (1995)


Keith, Monday, 28 May 2007 22:44 (fifteen years ago) link

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