Damien Hirst (born 7th June 1965 in Bristol) is a Britishartist and probably the most famous of the group that has been dubbed "Young British Artists" (or YBA's). He is best known for his Natural History series in which dead animals (such as a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde.
- In 1988 he gained attention for curating the student exhibition, Freeze, in a derelict building in South East London. Freeze brought him to the attention of a Charles Saatchi. After graduating Hirst was included in New Contemporaries and in a group show at Kettles Yard Gallery in Cambridge.
His first solo exhibition, In and Out of Love, was held at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London in 1991. Also in 1991 he had a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. By this time the major elements of his work had been established with the use of large vitrines, dead animals and pharmacological support. At this point Hirst met the up and coming art dealer Jay Jopling. At the end of 1991 Hirst was showcased in an exhibition at Saatchi's Gallery in North London including the work "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living". The same exhibition included the work "10,000 Years". Hirst'sfirst major international presentation was in the 1993 Venice Biennale with the work "Mother and Child Divided".
Hirst was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1992 but lost to Grenville Davey. He won in 1995.
- His critically-acclaimed autobiography/art book, I Want To Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, was published in 1998.
Hirst is a friend of Alex James of the band Blur, for whom he directed the video for the song Country House. In 1998, with James and the actor Keith Allen,Hirst formed the band Fat Les, a one-hit wonder with their football-themed song Vindaloo.
In 2000 Hirst paid an undisclosed sum to charity in an out-of-court settlement after being accused that "Hymn" (1996) plagiarised Hull-based toy manufacturer Humbrol's "Anatomy Man", designed by Norman Emms.
In 2003 Hirst's giant statue "Charity" was sold for a reported €1m, the first time an individual work by a living British artist had reached this price.
In 2003 Hirst had a public rift with the collector Charles Saatchi over the display of his works as part of a fee paying exhibition. Hirst bought back a number of works from Saatchi for a total fee reported to exceed €8m.
On 24 May 2004, a fire in a storage warehouse destroyed many works from the Saatchi collection, including, it is believed, some of Hirst's.
In late 2004 Hirst designed a cover for the "Band Aid 20" charity single featuring the Grim Reaper with an African child perched on his knee. Not to the liking of the record executives, it was replaced by reindeer in the snow standing next to a child.
In December 2004 the Saatchi Collection confirmed a rumour that it had sold The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living to an American collector, for $12 million (€6.5 million), in a deal negotiated by Hirst's New York agent Larry Gagosian. It is understood that the collector, believed to be Steve Cohen - a Greenwich hedge fund manager, will donate the work to MoMA New York.