“Art’s about life,” says the British contemporary artist Damien Hirst, “and can’t really be about anything else. There isn’t anything else.” Hirst first gained attention when he organized a student show, “Freeze,” while at Goldsmiths University in 1988. In 1992, he burst upon the international scene with a shark suspended in formaldehyde. Since then he has created a complex web of installations, sculptures, and paintings that explore science, beauty, religion, life, and death. Moving beyond the shark, he has studded a human skull with diamonds and created the renowned “Spot” and “Butterfly” paintings. This survey spans his early years as a student in the 1980s to his mature works in the 1990s, and includes other pieces never seen before. —E.C.
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