Damien Hirst b. 1965


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As a leading member of the Young British Artists, Damien Hirst has dominated the UK art scene since the early 1990s. He received his B.A. in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 1989. During his second year there, Hirst organized a solo student art exhibition Freeze at a London Port Authority warehouse. Among the show's visitors was businessman Charles Saatchi, who offered to fund all of his future projects in 1991. Hirst's first piece under Saatchi's sponsorship, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which is a tank with a 14-foot shark preserved in formaldehyde, quickly gained the artist international acclaim. Hirst was then honorably chosen to exhibit at the 1993 Venice Biennale. He exhibited Mother and Child Divided, a cow and a calf cut into sections and preserved in formaldehyde.


He split from Saatchi in 2003 and continued to create a series of universally recognized spot, spin and butterfly paintings. In 2007, he created his most famous work called For the Love of God, a skull decorated with 8,601 diamonds worth £50 million. By 2010, he was the wealthiest artist in history with a net worth of about £215 million.


Hirst is also an avid collector, and owns works by Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, as well as other British and emerging artists. Hirst followed Saatchi's path in establishing his own personal art collection. He stated, "As you go through life, you just collect. Collecting is the way the world works, as a human being. It is a map of a man's life."


His work featured in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, the Tate Modern, the Denver Art Museum, the Rubell Family Collection in Miami and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Santa Monica, CA.


Related Categories: Young British Artists (YBA), Medical/Health, Contemporary Pop, Contemporary Gothic, Science, United Kingdom and Ireland, Mortality, Provocative, Appropriation, Patterns.