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Hirst, Damien

Portrait
Born: 1965 AD
Currently alive, at 49 years of age.

Nationality: English
Categories: Artists

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1965 - Damien Hirst was born in Bristol. He grew up in Leeds with his mother, Mary Brennan, and his stepfather.

1986 - He took a foundation course at Leeds School of Art before applying for college. He was rejected by St. Martin's but moved to London.

1988 - While still a student, Damien conceived, organised and promoted "Freeze", an exhibition held in a Docklands warehouse. The show featured several of Damien's pieces, and work by 16 of his fellow Goldsmith's' students.

1989 - He was accepted and graduated onto the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths College.

1990 - Saatchi bought Damien's "A Thousand Years". Since then, he has produced a body of work that, admired from the start by collectors and curators, has also proved extraordinarily provocative.

1992 - He commissioned the piece The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living for about US$32,000. He has organised a succession of exhibitions that have helped to define a generation.

         - He is best known for a series of works (The Natural History series) in which dead animals are presented as memento mori in forms ironically appropriated from the museum of natural history rather than of art. Their titles suggest a range of readings and reveal the thoughtfulness of his approach.

         - Damien was short listed for the Turner Prize.

1994 - He had an extreme amount of trouble getting his art into the United States to exhibit it. The first piece was delayed at US Customs until it was established that the animals were considered art and not food. Then a piece that was to be displayed in New York City was banned by the Health Department because they were concerned about the "odors and fluids created by the rotting process".

1995 - Another New York gallery banned Damien's Two Fucking, Two Watching, which involves a dead cow and bull copulating by means of a hydraulic device.

1998 - Damien himself became involved in a pop group, Fat Les, who recorded two singles that year, appeared at Glastonbury (but didn't perform), and who were accepted to participate in the Music Industry Soccer Six.

1999 - The spot paintings have become somewhat of an icon of Damien's work. They have become so recognisable as Damien's theme that he actually brought suit against British Airways for an advertisement campaign for their low-cost airline, Go, which used the motif.

         - Damien was asked to create a special spot painting to send into space for the Beagle II mission to Mars.

2002 - Damien designed the sets for Glastonbury, a play about the Glastonbury music festival, and designed and directed Breath, the 30-45 second film version of Samuel Beckett's short. Keith Allen stars in both.

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Page last updated: 1:38am, 20th Mar '07