Damien Hirst Is Tate’s Six Million Pound Man

Tate Modern announced today that the Damien Hirst exhibition launched as part of the Cultural Olympiad has been one of the most successful in its history.The exhibition welcomed 463,087 visitors over the five month period. It is the most visited solo exhibition ever held at the gallery, ahead of the Edward Hopper retrospective in 2004 and Gauguin in 2010-11. It is the second most visited exhibition in the Tate Modern’s history, after ‘Matisse Picasso’ in 2002 which received 467,166 visitors.

Open from 4 April to 9 September, the exhibition was seen by almost 3,000 visitors each day. The exhibition is an example of the longer running shows that Tate has introduced in recent years, which offer visitors a chance to see exhibitions across the spring and summer.

This was the first substantial survey of Hirst’s work ever held in the UK. Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, it provided a unique journey through two decades of Hirst’s inventive practice. Major works on display included ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’, in which a shark is suspended in formaldehyde, and ‘In and Out of Love’, a two-room installation involving live butterflies.

Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said:”We are delighted that so many people came to see and discuss the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern. It was wonderful to see such iconic works brought together in one place and to offer our visitors a chance to experience them first-hand.”

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London from 1986 to 1989 and is considered by many to be the leading figure of the group known as “Young British Artists”. The YBAs are characterised by their entrepreneurial spirit, independence and their ability to manipulate the media.Hirst dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s. His early career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi, however over the last few years Hirst has distanced himself from this association. Hirst’s work explores the uncertainty at the core of human experience; love, life, death, loyalty and betrayal. His work has been exhibited widely,in Britain, the USA, Australia, and Europe. Work is included in many public and private collections.

Photo: © PC Robinson © ArtLyst 2012

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