Confronting the camera with the swagger of a rap star, Damien Hirst looks every bit the leader of a "New Guard" of young artists determined to put London on the map as the capital of contemporary art. In the late 1980s, Hirst made his mark in a series of group shows that he curated and presented in London warehouses. With the backing of private collector Charles Saatchi, Hirst quickly earned both fame and notoriety with works such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which featured a fourteen-foot shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. Other projects, such as designing the interior of a London restaurant called Pharmacy and marketing paintings (often created by assistants) made by spinning a canvas under pouring paint, have furthered Hirst's reputation for brazen ambition and pushing boundaries. "So far I've found out there aren't any," Hirst explained in an ARTnews profile in 1998. "I wanted to be stopped, and no one will stop me."
Rankin (born 1966)
Gelatin silver print, circa 1998
Published November 1998 (cover)
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