Damien Hirst shark in a tank

Seven reasons why we love Damien Hirst // Sharks in formaldehyde and that

What with the Tate Modern opening the first major survey of Damien Hirst’s collection of work for over twenty years, we at Le Blow pay homage to the Prince of Darkness himself with seven reasons why we bloody love him…
Damien Hirst portrait

1) He was a fitty back in the day

Pre the whole Elton John/Bono/dad-in-a-mid-life crisis look, he had that whole Johnny Rotten art student ’80s punk thing going on, which is FIT.
Here he is in a photo entitled ‘Dead Head. it’s Damien Hirst… with a, erm… dead head. I blame True Blood  ENTIRELY for this but there’s something about the whole dead thing that does it for me. Yep. I said it.
Damien Hirst with a dead head

2) Mr Hirst uses death as a recurring theme throughout his art…

…in a kind of ‘eeeeewwww grossss’ and yet ‘ooohhhh I see’ cloaked and mysterious Prince of Darkness sort of way (in no way are Damien Hirst and The Hitcher from the Mighty Boosh the same person in my head. In NO way).
The Hitcher The Mighty Boosh

From rotting cow heads to maggots and butterflies, the life/death cycle is prominent throughout Damien Hirst’s work, and a kind of morbid relationship with anatomy and decay (much like Dalston High Street at 5am on a Sunday morning) alongside preservation as key themes of the inside and outside are very clear… (again, much like Dalston High Street at 5am on a Sunday morning).

Damien Hirst and a cow

This is literally the case in ‘Mother and Child Divided’ as you can physically walk through the centre of two sides of a split cow, and it’s calf. Mmmmmmmm *art appreciation noises*

Although thought-provoking – Hirts’s art is extremely physical and interactive (steady) in some cases – it’s always a real spectacle.

Damien Hirst In and Out of Love

In ‘In and out of Love’ in 1991, Hirst transformed a two storey premises into a live installation.

In one room, where live butterfly pupae embedded on white canvases to hatch into the room, mate, lay eggs and so forth.
In the second room, eight coloured canvases hang, with dead butterflies embedded in the surface. Life and death; beauty and morbidity. Literally in adjoining rooms. This has been completely recreated in the Tate for the first time since 1991 and has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

3) Moving on from point 2…

…(almost like a cohesive article you might say. Almost), and following the theme of life and death, in 2007 Damien Hirst created ‘For the Love of God’.
A platinum cast of a human skull covered in 8,601 flawless diamonds. Now call me a modern gal but SCREW an engagement ring; gimme a diamond encrusted skull and I’m yours 4EVA. He’s like the bloody Elton John of the undead. Kudos, sir.

4) He then tried to flog said skull for a casual £50 mill

Alright, Damo… aim high, eh? And when it didn’t sell, an artist ‘collective’ swooped in and bought it. All last minute, like. A collective that just happen to include Mr Hirst.
The sale of this piece is supposedly the highest price ever paid for a single work by a living artist and resulted in a skyrocketing of Hirst’s artistic value. Every day I’m hustling, etc. Boy got skillz, and at a current estimated fortune of £215 mill, who can argue with that?

5) He hangs out with Noel Fielding

Damien Hirst and Noel Fielding

‘Nuff said (hesdefinitelythehitchertoldya)

6) He swore he’d never exhibit at a big shiny exhibition at the Tate

Then he did. SOME would say sell out. WE would say: how else are you going to support your diamond Pritt Stick habit? Ain’t nothin’ going on but the rent.


Damien Hirst shark in a tank

Then when that one decayed HE DID IT AGAIN.
Fun fact Wide Awakers: the shark in ‘The Physical impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ exhibited at the Tate is not the original shark, as stated above. Can you imagine: ‘we’ve just come round to replace the shark, luv. Shouldn’t take long. pop the kettle on. got a wrench?’
Damien Hirst is on at the Tate Modern until 9th September – for ticket info etc etc, visit tate.org.uk
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    I remember seeing Hirst’s stuff in the Sensation exhibition waaaay back in *coughs* 1997. It was fuckin’ amazing and had Hirst’s shark as well as a picture of Myra Hindley made up of mini images of children’s handprints and also a rather strange installation of kids with cock noses. I ruddy loved it – and it probably explains why I turned out the way I did after college… 😉

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