PRINT April 2003


1988: “Freeze”

IN 1988 THE UK WAS IN CRISIS: The economy was still reeling from the previous year’s stock-market collapse, the conflict in Northern Ireland was escalating by the day, and on the night of December 21, a terrorist’s bomb brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Throughout, Margaret Thatcher remained defiant, determined to see Britain rebuilt in her own image: as a classless society in which, with enough hard work, any individual could succeed. London’s Docklands—a fading conduit for Britain’s declining manufacturing industries—was ground zero for Thatcher’s master plan. Lodged uncomfortably amid the working-class neighborhoods that housed the docks’ erstwhile labor force, the Docklands would eventually become a monument to free enterprise: a home to luxury waterfront apartments and headquarters for multinational media and banking conglomerates. It was here that Damien Hirst—at

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