Damien Hirst to open huge exhibition of more than 50 early works at Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst's Myth Explored, Explained, Exploded (1993) will be included in the show Courtesy of the artist

Damien Hirst has a long history of doing it for himself and now he is opening an exhibition of more than 50 early works, many from his own collection, at his Newport Street Gallery in south London next week.

The exhibition, titled End of a Century (7 October to 7 March 2021), will include more than 50 installations, sculptures and paintings from the 1980s and 1990s, when Hirst came to fame as one of the Young British Artists (YBAs). Expect medicine cabinets, sharks pickled in formaldehyde and spot paintings.

“Showing my works from the 90s and before, so long ago! Makes me feel old—last century?” Hirst posted on Instagram beneath a picture of his mammoth sculpture, Hymn (1995-2005), being winched by crane into the gallery yesterday.

Examples from Hirsts best-known bodies of work including his Natural History formaldehyde series are hotly anticipated. “Its an extraordinary opportunity to see Damiens early work, particularly for the next generation,” says Cheyenne Westphal, the chairman of Phillips auction house. “His art from the 1990s is groundbreaking, he was the trailblazer who really changed our art scene here in the UK.”

A number of works which have not been exhibited before are making an appearance, including Art's About Life, the Art World is About Money (1998), an auction house scene framed within a glass and steel case, and Up, Up and Away (1997), in which three ducks are suspended in formaldehyde. Early collages from the 1980s, inspired by the German artist Kurt Schwitters, are also going on show.

Newport Street Gallery was opened in 2015 specifically to share Hirsts 3,000-strong collection with the public. The artists former chief curator, Hugh Allan, told the Guardian newspaper at the time that Hirsts work would not go on show, although individual pieces by the former YBA have been included in group shows over the past few years.

This is Hirsts first solo show at the gallery, however. A spokeswoman says: “Many visitors have requested to see Damiens art and, during Covid-19, we decided to organise a show of Damiens early works, some of which have not been seen before. The role of the gallery has not changed.”

The works are drawn from Hirsts own collection, augmented by other private loans. None of the art is for sale, according to the Newport Street Gallery spokeswoman. “Damien Hirsts collection isnt really for sale, he has always kept that very separate,” Westphal says.

Hirsts auction market has been patchy for the past decade, but as Westphal says, there have only been a “sprinkRead More – Source