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Damien Hirst

The enfant terrible of the contemporary art world

Damien Hirst gained notoriety in the 1990s as the Young British Artists' enfant terrible. He is well known for frightening audiences with his artwork, which has included floating basketballs, piles of pills, and dead animals suspended in formaldehyde. Hirst is by far one of the most controversial artists in the contemporary art world.

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Damien Hirst gained notoriety in the 1990s as the Young British Artists' enfant terrible. He is well known for frightening audiences with his artwork, which has included floating basketballs, piles of pills, and dead animals suspended in formaldehyde. Hirst is by far one of the most controversial artists in the contemporary art world.

Artworks

Damien Hirst Sales Data Information

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Biography

Damien Hirst is frequently referred to as the enfant terrible of the contemporary art world. He is one of the most notable Young British Artists, a globally renowned artist collective noted for their contentious work and dominance of the British art scene throughout the 1990s.

  • Beginnings

    Alex Katz was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. His family relocated to St. Albans, a diverse Queens suburb that had risen up between the two world wars, in 1928, at the start of the Depression. Katz was reared by his Russian émigré parents, both of whom were interested in poetry and the arts, his mother being a Yiddish theater actor. Katz attended Woodrow Wilson High School because of its unusual program, which allowed him to spend his mornings studying and his afternoons performing arts

  • Early Works

    While studying at Goldsmiths, Hirst expanded his understanding of the relationship between sculpture and painting and created basic installation pieces like Medicine Cabinets, which were influenced by American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1988). His grandmother's empty pharmaceutical packaging, which he had asked her to leave him in the case of her passing, was used to create these installation pieces.

    Death was a recurring motif in Hirst's early work since it interested him at a young age and served as the inspiration for his early installation piece A Thousand Years (1990). With Dead Head (1991), a contentious photographic piece, documents Hirst's many visits to the anatomy department of Leeds Medical School starting when he was 16 years old. Hirst later held a part-time job in a mortuary. Hirst developed an interest in color during his second year at Goldsmiths and started creating his well-known Spot paintings.

  • Most Famous Works

    The installation The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Somebody Living is maybe Hirst's most well-known piece (1991). It was made for the British collector Charles Saatchi and features a shark floating in a huge tank of formaldehyde preservative.

    Mother And Child (Divided), another of Hirst's most famous and divisive works, was displayed in the 1993 Venice Biennale. The exhibit, which consists of four glass-walled tanks with a bisected cow and calf preserved in formaldehyde, has long infuriated animal rights organizations.

    Another of Hirst's most well-known works, For The Love Of God, which cost £12 million to create and features a platinum cast of an 18th-century human skull covered in diamonds, was created in 2007.

  • Style & Technique

    Damien Hirst uses a number of media and has experimented with a variety of artistic techniques, from the more conventional screen printing method to formaldehyde preservation of dead animals.

    Hirst chose a basic, almost structural approach to composition early on, as evidenced by his numerous Spot paintings, each of which is named after a different research substance.

    Hirst hired subordinates to carry out his directions as the quantity of these works grew over time. Hirst has received public criticism for mass-producing paintings on an industrial scale with the assistance of others, including David Hockney. However, some have pointed out that since the Renaissance, such procedures have been prevalent. Others contend that Hirst's employment of helpers amounts to an audacious aesthetic statement that echoes Andy Warhol's output and outlook. Hirst has remarked of his work, "I think art should be like when you go to the movies... I fail to see why art ought to be any different.

  • Success

    An unused Port of London Authority Building in South East London was transformed by Hirst and fellow Goldsmiths student and exhibitor Angus Fairhurst into the venue for the ground-breaking exhibition, Freeze, in 1988. Hirst first caught Charles Saatchi's eye and curators Nicholas Serota and Norman Rosenthal's attention during this exhibition, which included the work of 16 Young British Artists.

    In 1992, Hirst displayed among his fellow Young British Artists at the Saatchi Gallery after having his first solo exhibition in 1991 at London's Woodstock Street Gallery. After participating in the 1993 Venice Biennale, Hirst went on to win the coveted Turner Prize in 1995. It's amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a warped imagination, and a chainsaw, Hirst remarked when accepting the award.

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