Love him or hate him, Damien Hirst is undeniably Britain’s poster boy for contemporary art. Having amassed a fortune of £215 million, Hirst also happens to be the world’s most successful living artist. His recent 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern was the museum’s most popular solo exhibition in history and in 2013, in an unprecedented move, the world’s most powerful art dealer Larry Gagosian, displayed the Damien Hirst spot paintings in each of his 11 gallery spaces around the world.
Newport Street Gallery Vauxhall
Having conquered the global art world it seemed like Hirst had nowhere left to go. But that's where you're wrong. The notorious artist is now launching his own gallery in Lambeth’s Newport Street to showcase his incredible collection of contemporary works and modern masterpieces. The inaugural exhibition at the Damien Hirst gallery spotlights the late British abstract painter John Hoyland, who actually led the backlash against Hirst and his YBA friends back in the 1990s.
Damien Hirst curator & collector
Newport Street Gallery will enable Hirst to share his expansive art collection with the public and return to his first love of curating. After all, it was Hirst that organised the seminal Freeze exhibition in 1998 which launched the careers of Hirst and his contemporaries at Goldsmiths as Charles Saatchi bought up the entire show. Many critics, in fact, have argued that Hirst’s strongest talent lies more with curating than with being an artist.
But, if his curating skills are impressive, so is his art collection. Since his student days Hirst has picked up work from contemporaries like Mat Collishaw, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin, as well as more starry names including Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons, and Francis Bacon, whilst also developing a taste for unorthodox artefacts. You might have seen his fascinating collection of skulls, taxidermy and medical records recently featured in the Barbican’s excellent exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions.
Why we love Damien Hirst art
We love Hirst for his ceaseless capacity to shock, or at least to reinvent the well trodden and familiar. From a shark suspended in formaldehyde (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991)) and a diamond drenched skull (For the Love of God), to bypassing galleries and auctioning 223 new pieces of work directly at Sotheby’s, Damien Hirst's new gallery feels like the latest in a long line of stunts which have made him the most powerful artist in the world.
|What||John Hoyland, Newport Street Gallery|
Newport Street Gallery
Newport Street, London, SE11 6AJ | MAP
|Nearest tube||Vauxhall (underground)|
08 Oct 15 – 03 Apr 16, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
|Website||Click here for more details|