Damien Hirst

White Cube | Hoxton Square

In one form or another the subject of Damien Hirst has generated a vast amount of copy; the collected press cuttings alone run to several volumes. The sources are diverse—from the more-or-less specialist art press to the color supplements of the Sunday papers—but the writing has one prominent unifying feature: it is almost universally anecdotal. It is the artist, or rather his exotic creative persona, that is the subject of the commentaries, rarely the works themselves. Such commentaries as have paid attention to Hirst’s work as work are content, as often as not, to let their imaginations be driven by the press release or its equivalent. And for the most part this has meant looking at and talking about death.

The centerpiece of his most recent show was an impressively engineered, srainless-steel-and-glass cabinet filled with surgical equipment laid out in careful rows. A kind of top-of-the-range

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