(New York, October 16, 2007)--The best-known of contemporary British artist Damien Hirst's conceptual tank pieces, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – which features a 13-foot tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde – will go on view today in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for modern and contemporary art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work is on a three-year loan from The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection.
"Damien Hirst's iconic shark will be an arresting sight in the Metropolitan's modern art galleries," stated Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. "It should be especially revealing and stimulating to confront this work in the context of the entire history of art, an opportunity only this institution can provide."
Gary Tinterow, Curator in Charge of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art since 2004, commented: "For three years, we have endeavored to bring work by younger artists into the Museum, so we are thrilled to exhibit Hirst's Physical Impossibility, a work that epitomizes the art of our time. We are very grateful to the owners, Steven and Alexandra Cohen, for making this possible."
The seminal, 22-ton work – which was created in 1991 and was displayed as part of the collection of its previous owner, Charles Saatchi, in the 1997-2000 London/Berlin/New York exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection – has been recently refurbished by the artist, who replaced the original tiger shark with the current one, using a modified process of preservation. The new version of the work was exhibited for the first time earlier this year at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (February 18 through May 13).
The work is on display in the wing's second-floor Lila Acheson Wallace Gallery, which overlooks Central Park.
Damien Hirst (b. 1965), who has studios in London and Gloucestershire, is best known for the variety of materials with which he works. His Spot paintings, titled with references to pharmaceutical chemicals, are arrangements of colors on white ground, while his Spin paintings utilize centrifugal force to pour paint over canvas. The medicine cabinet pieces are arrangements of drugs, surgical tools, and medical supplies, while the tank pieces, containing dead animals preserved in formaldehyde, are sculptures encouraging confrontation with the mortality of all living things. Hirst won the Tate Gallery Turner Prize in 1995.
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October 16, 2007