“Damien Hirst, Natural History”

Alexander Adams

Alexander Adams

Alexander Adams is an artist, critic and poet, based in the UK. He writes art criticism for The Critic, Standpoint, Apollo, Burlington Magazine, Print Quarterly, Printmaking Today, The Jackdaw and other publications. He publishes articles on censorship and free speech, as well as book reviews, on Spiked-Online.

“The entrance to the Gagosian gallery is rather unsettling. A pair of calves suspended in formaldehyde solution; two flayed cows heads gaze at each other; a shoal of exotic fish — once vividly coloured — are faded to tawny grey. They have, in artistic terms, acquired the patina of an Old Master. 

Damien Hirst: Natural History (Gagosian, London) displays the past master of shock’s iconic animal sculptures and forces us to consider the question: is Hirst a serious artist? 

“When I was an art student at Goldsmiths College a couple of years after Hirst had graduated, tales of his unprecedented success while still a student loomed large. Hirst would send taxis to collect tutors so they could give him tutorials as he prepared works in galleries. For the art students who studied in the early 1990s, it was an impossible act to follow. 

“Like others, I made the pilgrimage to see Hirst’s exhibitions, including those at the Saatchi Gallery. The sight of The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) — a giant tiger shark in a tank — is one of the most unforgettable experiences of the last 50 years of British art…”

To read the full review visit The Critic here: https://thecritic.co.uk/the-decaying-master-of-shock/