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MCA Denver Showcases Large-Scale Works by Damien Hirst in a Blockbuster Exhibit
Damien Hirst, Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, 2007. Glass, steel, bullock, arrows, crossbow bolts and formaldehyde solution 126 5/8 x 61 5/16 x 61 5/16 inches (321.6 x 155.8 x 155.8 cm) Courtesy of the Goss-Michael Foundation and the Artist. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates. Copyright Damien Hirst.

DENVER, CO.- MCA DENVER proudly presents Damien Hirst’s signature works, including the piece Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, 2007 from the Natural History series, which features animals preserved in formaldehyde and displayed in large glass vitrines. The exhibition opens October 7, 2008 and runs through August 30, 2009. A public reception will be held on Friday, October 10 from 6-10pm. The Hirst pieces at MCA DENVER are on loan from the Artist and the Goss-Michael Collection. This exhibition is curated by Cydney Payton, Executive Director and Chief Curator of MCA DENVER, who is noted for her foresight in presenting artists at crucial points in their careers. Payton has had key timing in presenting emerging artists, highlighting international trends, and in the case of Hirst, showing his work when he is forging entirely new ground in the art world. This exhibition represents years of relationship-building for Payton, and indicates Payton’s and MCA DENVER’s outstanding international reputations.

Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, the central piece in this exhibition, contains a steer that is pierced by dozens of arrows and cable-tied to a steel post. The work is over 10 feet tall and weighs nearly 8 tons (15,873 pounds). This brutal yet noble interpretation of the saint’s martyrdom reflects Hirst’s concern with the Western tradition of Christian iconography, as well as his interest in the inevitability of death and decay through failures in science and medicine.

In addition to Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, MCA DENVER presents two butterfly paintings, one shown for the first time in this US exhibition. These pieces, which Hirst recently announced he would no longer be producing, offer a sense of beauty, vulnerability and tragedy. A medicine cabinet sculpture connects animals and humans to science as pharmaceuticals are created using a combination of synthetic and organic materials.

Hirst’s work addresses various themes, largely in response to his personal experience and background. Religion and mortality are reflected through his Pop sensibility, which is direct, yet tongue-in-cheek. Often evoking outrage, intrigue and awe – Hirst challenges established societal attitudes through new explorations of classical themes in art to offer new perspectives on questions of life and death. He is regarded among the most successful living artists working today and is recognized as the preeminent YBA (Young British Artist.)

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, United Kingdom in 1965. He lives and works in London and Devon, UK. He received a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London, UK. In 1995, he was the recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize. The list of exhibitions and collections featuring works by Damien Hirst is illustrious. Landmark exhibitions include Young British Artists (1992) at Saatchi Gallery, London, Sensation (1995) at the Royal Academy, London and a solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, New York in 2000. In an unprecedented step, Hirst recently offered his work directly at auction through Sotheby’s, bypassing the gallery and museum circuit.

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