Artist, born in Yorkshire, who attended Jacob Kramer College of Art, Leeds, 1983–4, then Goldsmiths’ College, 1986–9. His group show appearances included Whitworth Young Contemporaries, Manchester, 1987; Freeze, at PLA Building, 1988; New Contemporaries, at ICA, 1989; and Modern Medicine and Gambler, both at Building One, 1990. In 1994 Hirst curated Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away at the Serpentine Gallery, by which time he had become famous, in the words of critic Andrew Graham-Dixon, as the “virtuoso of dead animals and flies, the man who sold Charles Saatchi a tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde”, for the Saatchi Collection. Hirst’s winning entry for the Turner Prize, 1995, Mother and Child Divided, showed a cow and calf bisected longitudinally and presented in a glass case. It was said to explore the themes of mortality and isolation. Hirst also exhibited two of his spot paintings, white canvases covered with a slightly irregular grid of coloured circles. In 1996 BBC 2 Television showed Hanging Around, a dark comedy written and directed by Hirst. Other diversifications included the setting up of a record label, Turtleneck, which recorded the 1998 World Cup song Vindaloo, by Fat Les; providing designs for, Pharmacy, one of his two London restaurants (the other being Quo Vadis); a £1m publishing project, with Canongate Books, in which Hirst designed a limited edition of Robert Sabbag’s 1976 cult classic Snowblind, about an American cocaine dealer; and the creation in 2002 of one of his coloured dot paintings, to be used in the Beagle 2 Mars space shot. Later solo exhibitions included Gagosian Gallery, New York, America, 2000, and a retrospective at The Saatchi Gallery and shows at White Cube, all 2003. From the Cradle to the Grave: Selected Drawings by Damien Hirst appeared in 2004. Hirst had headquarters in London but lived in Devon. In 2005 Hirst bought the 124-acre Toddington Manor Estate, in Gloucestershire, including a Grade 1-listed, 300-room mansion which had stood empty for 20 years, aiming to create a museum to house his own work.
Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)