Damien Hirst

Tate Modern
April 4–September 9

Curated by Ann Gallagher

With the recent death of Lucian Freud, some might argue that Hirst is now the greatest living British artist. And indeed—having given us such sensational icons as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (aka the Shark), 1991, and various farm animals, some bisected, vitrinized, and suspended in formaldehyde—there’s no question that he caters amply to the British appetite for showmanship. These works may sound ghoulish, but Hirst’s oeuvre is, of course, also splendidly carnivalesque: One could cite the spot and spin paintings, canvases faced with butterfly wings and real diamond dust, and other examples of his perversely cheerful aesthetic. As Tate Modern presents Hirst’s (believe it or not) first-ever UK survey, some seventy works from the past three decades will go on view, including numerous paintings, major installations (In and Out of Love, 1991, and Pharmacy, 1992), and, yes, the infamous Shark. Should be a helluva lot of fun.