Damien Hirst – Curator

Artists / Curators / History / Research
Dock Offices, Surrey Docks, London

At Dock Offices, Surrey Docks, London, Damien Hirst installed in July 1988 his first exhbition he curated, entitled ‘Freeze’.

Damien Hirst – curator
Curating an exhibition is one of many ways for an artist to collaborate with other artists. Damien Hirst‘s (* 1965) groundbreaking and controversial work has made him one of the world’s best-known living artists – not to forget his success as curator.

We included the following exhibitions, curated by Damien Hirst, to artist-info as an overview and insight into these exhibitions and the participating artists with their individual artist-info pages.

‘Freeze’ – July 1988
During his time at Goldsmiths College of Art he organized in July 1988 in an empty London Port Authority building at Surrey Docks in London Docklands his first exhibition, entitled ‘Freeze’. Many of the participating artists, later known as YBA – Young British Artists, are well known today but not so in July 1988:
Steven Adamson, Angela Bulloch, Mat Collishaw, Ian Davenport, Angus Fairhurst, Anya Gallaccio, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Abigail Lane, Sarah Lucas, Lala Meredith-Vula, Stephen Park, Richard Patterson, Simon Patterson, and Fiona Rae.
The exhibition was sponsored by the London Docklands Development Corporation and Olympia and York and included the possibility to publish a catalog of high quality, designed by Tony Arefin and with an essay by Goldsmiths tutor Ian Jeffrey. The publicity efforts for the exhibition by Hirst made important collectors, including Norman Rosenthal, Charles Saatchi, Nicholas Serota, and Richard Shone, and curators and journalist come and see the ‘Freeze’ show.
Looking back it might seem that the exhibition was a well thought of plot. It doesn’t take into account what Michael Craig-Martin, one of Damien Hirst’s tutors at Goldsmiths Art College, described as: “It amuses me that so many people think what happened was calculated and cleverly manipulated whereas in fact it was a combination of youthful bravado, innocence, fortunate timing, good luck, and, of course, good work. It caught people’s imagination.”

The core of the later-to-be YBAs graduated from the Goldsmiths BA Fine Art degree course in the classes of 1987 – 1990.
Liam Gillick, Fiona Rae, Steve Park, and Sarah Lucas, were graduates in the class of 1987.
Ian Davenport, Michael Landy, Gary Hume, Anya Gallaccio, Henry Bond, and Angela Bulloch, were graduates in the class of 1988.
Damien Hirst, Angus Fairhurst, Mat Collishaw, Simon Patterson, and Abigail Lane, were graduates from the class of 1989,
whilst Gillian Wearing, and Sam Taylor-Wood, were graduates from the class of 1990.

‘Modern Medicine’ and ‘Gambler’ – March and May 1990
Both highly acclaimed exhibitions were co-organized by Damien Hirst, with Carl Freedman and Billee Sellman in the The Biscuit Factory – Building One.

‘Some Went Mad . . . Some Ran Away’ – May 1994
In 1989, Angus Fairhurst wrote an essay titled ‘Some went mad and some ran away, the great majority stayed faithful until physical death.’ Fairhurst’s text resonated with Damien Hirst, as he adopted part of the title in 1994, for the exhibition he curated at the Serpentine Galleries, London, ‘Some Went Mad . . . Some Ran Away’.
In 1995 Damien Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize, in part for his curatorship of this show at the Serpentine Galleries, in which he also exhibited.

‘In The Darkest Hour There May Be Light, Works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection’ – November 2006
The first public exhibition of Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection at Serpentine Galleries. The collection spans several generations of international artists, from Francis Bacon, John Bellany and Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons, Angela Bulloch and Jim Lambie. Hirst also supports artists in earlier stages of their careers such as Tom Ormond, Laurence Owen and Nicholas Lumb.

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