Damien Hirst was born on June 7th 1965. He attended Leeds College of Art and Design, and studied Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. While he was a student, Hirst had a placement in mortuary, an experience that influenced his latter themes. His is a prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists, who dominated the art world in the 90s. In 1990, he became famous with his work A Thousand Years, which consists in a rotting calf's head slowly being eaten by maggots and flies. In 1991, Charles Saatchi, founder of a global advertising agency and art collector, offered to fund whatever artwork Hirst wanted to make.
The works were presented a year later at the first YBA exhibition. It was at this exhibition that one of Hirst's most famous was showcased, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living which is a shark preserved in formaldehyde. The artwok sold for £50,000 and became the iconic work of British arts in the 90s.
In 2007, an exhibition of Hirst's new work opened. The center piece, called For the Love of God, was a human skull recreated in platinum and adorned with 8,600 diamonds, approximately £15,000,000 worth of diamonds. The only surviving human part of the original skull, on which the work is based, are the teeth. The artist John LeKay claimed that Hirst had copied the idea from his crystal skull but no basis for copywright infringement could be claimed.
In 2008, The Golden Calf sold for around £18,3 million. The work is a calf with gold-plated horns and hooves (18 carat gold) preserved in formaldehyde.
Some critics claim that Hirst has developped a new way of making art and that he is a league of his own. They praise his originality and audacity. On the other hand some have said that Hirst's art is nothing more than lumps of dead animals; that it is tacky and absurd. But death has always been a central topic of his art and if some peaople cannot see anything in it, it is perhaps due to their incapacity of handling age and near death. It has also been said that Hirst has lost his originality, that it is just shocking and disgusting art copied from other artists. Hirst has numerous times faced accusations of plagiarism, but none have been brought to court.
Hirst may have been original in the 90s but he has for long now lost his innovation.