PRINT December 2006

Thomas Crow

FOR A EUROPEAN ARTIST to arrive in Mexico City trailing paraphernalia of suffering and death might seem the height of folly. From the tzompantli, or skull racks, of the Aztecs to the famous calavera (skull) caricatures of José Guadalupe Posada (1851–1913), to the festive altars that mark the Day of the Dead in nearly every Mexican city and town, there would seem to be a national patent on the imagery of death, one that an outsider should infringe only with the greatest caution. If that artist is Damien Hirst, notoriously the author of The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991, how does he create common ground with a society that has historically found mortality to be eminently conceivable and has erected whole industries around it?

Undeterred, Hirst showed a major ensemble of new work in Mexico City at the Galería Hilario Galguera, which was specially relaunched

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