Damien Hirst Resources - Select Bibliography

Luke White

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This is a select bibliography of articles, books, etc. on Hirst. The emphasis of this is on the more substantial and critical works on him, although there are more general and introductory sources, too.

Catalogues and books by/about Hirst:

Freeze. London: Olympia and York, 1989. The catalogue for the show which launched the yBas, curated by Damien Hirst. Has an essay by Ian Jeffrey, which, interestingly enough for my project, includes references to the notion of the sublime.
Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1997. Catalogue for the notorious 'Sensation' exhibition of 'young British artists', including Damien Hirst, which drew crowds first at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London, and then at New York's Brooklyn Museum.
Young British Art: The Saatchi Decade. London: Booth-Clibborn, 1999. catalogue of 'young British artist's' works collected by Saatchi, including Hirst.
Hirst, Damien. Damien Hirst. London: Institute of Contemporary Art and Jay Joplin, 1991. Catalogue for Hirst's major one-man exhibition at London's Institute of Contemporary Art.
Hirst, Damien, and Richard Shone. Some Went Mad and Some Ran Away. London: Serpentine Gallery, 1995. Catalogue for exhibition at London's Serpentine Gallery, curated by Damien Hirst
Hirst, Damien. No Sense of Absolute Corruption. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 1996. Catalogue for Hirst's first New York exhibition.
Hirst, Damien, and Gordon Burn. I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions, 1997. A lavish and highly designed pop-up book detailing Hirst's career. Rapidly going out of print, it has become a collector's edition, and a good condition copy now sells for hundreds of pounds.
Hirst, Damien, and Jason Beard. Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings. New York: Gagosian Gallery & Science, 2000. Catalogue for another exhibition at the New York Gagosian gallery.
Hirst, Damien, and Gordon Burn. On the Way to Work. London: Faber, 2001. Damien curses his way through a series of interviews spanning from the eary nineties to 2001.
Hirst, Damien. Pictures from the Saatchi Gallery. London: Booth-Clibborn, 2001. A catalogue of Hirsts works, as collected by Saatchi (before he sold much of this on!)
Hirst, Damien. Damien Hirst's Pharmacy. London: Sotheby's, 2004.

The catalogue for the recent (2005) auction of the furniture and fittings of Hirst's infamous London restaurant venture, which reputedly made Hirst £11 million. The catalogue is interesting evidence, detailing the contents of the restaurant as Hirst designed it from the butterfly paintings and pill cabinets on the walls right down to the Hirst-designed matchboxes and cocktail glasses. The catalogue itself is a lavish piece of design, but one warning: the showbiz endorsements of the sale by British celebrities may make you violently ill.

Hirst, Damien. Damien Hirst, The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989 to 2004. Naples: Museo Archeologica Nationale, 2005. Catalogue of Hirst's 2005 retrospective in Naples. Details work from throughout his career to this date. With interview and essays. This sets out to be the Hirst catalogue (at least so far).
Hirst, Damien. For the Love of God: The Making of the Diamond Skull. Essay by Rudi Fuchs. London: White Cube/Other Criteria, 2007. Lots of flim-flam, pseudo-technical data, etc. The Fuchs essay involves a certain amount of puffing.
Hirst, Damien. Beyond Belief. London: White Cube/ Other Cirteria, 2007. Publication linked to the show in which Hirst showed the diamond skull. Contains images of the works in the show, essays by Will Self and Rudi Fuchs (this last is the same as in the catalogue for For the Love of God) and an interview between Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Hirst.
Hirst, Damien. Superstition. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2007. catalogue for Hirst's big exhibition in Leo Gagosian's Beverly Hills gallery in 2007. Hirst showed giant butterfly paintings, in the shape of stained glass windows.
Hirst, Damien. Beautiful Inside my Head Forever. London: Sotheby's, 2008. (5 vols., box set.) The catalogue for the Hirst auction which took place on the eve of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It was the first auction of a body of work made directly by an artist for the auction house, rather than being sold through the intermediary of a gallery, and coming to auction on the secondary market. The sale brought in a record £70.5 million; but the next day, it seemed, the financial crisis hit. An impossibly lavish catalogue.
Sarah Kent. Shark Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the 90s. London: Zwemmer, 1994. Another publication about the work in the Saatchi collection, including Hirst.


Journal, magazine and newspaper articles:

Bartram, Rob. "Nature, Art and Indifference." Cultural Geographies 12.1 (2005): 1-17. Discusses Hirst in relation to nature. It's a very interesting essay, especially for anyone who wants to write about the kind of representation of nature involved in Hirst's work, but I'm not sure its argument about Hirst holds up.
Brooks, Loura Wixley. "Damien Hirst and the Sensibility of Shock." The Contemporary Sublime: Sensibilities of Transcendence and Shock. Ed. Paul Crowther. Art and Design; V.10. London: Academy Editions, 1995. 54-67. A slightly weak essay, which attempts to justify the value of Damien Hirst's work by arguing that it takes a place within a tradition of the aesthetics of 'the sublime' as outlined by eighteenth-century philosopher and politician Edmund Burke.
Corris, Michael. "Pop Star Divided: Damien Hirst and the Ends of British Art." Art Text. 58 (1997): 64-71. Looks at Damien Hirst and the issue of his celebrity.
Dannant, Adrian. "Life's Like This, Then It Stops." Flash Art March/April 1995: 59-63. A lengthy interview with Hirst. Hirst discusses the Pharmacy show, religion, entropy, death, sex, and the relationship between art and the media
Dorment, Richard. "The Monster We're Lucky to Have." Telegraph 28 November 2006. Discussion of Hirst's exhibition of his art collection at the Serpentine.
Foster, Hal. "The Medium is the Market." London Review of Books 30.19 (2008). Discusses "business art" from Warhol to Hirst.
Gell, Alfred. "Vogel's Net: Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps." Journal of Material Culture 1.1 (1996): 15-38. A really very interesting essay, stemming not from the field of art criticism but from anthropology. Gell thinks about the relation between Hirst's scultptures - as traps made to capture art discourse - and the cultural meanings of the more literal traps made by societies which hunt to survive, and whose traps reflect their ideas about nature and about the world they live in.
Glass, Nicholas. "Damien Hirst: Artist or Brand?" Art Review November 2000: 44-5. Glass discusses the issue of branding and commercialism in Hirst's work.
Hattenstone, Simon. "Damien Hirst: 'Anyone Can Be Rembrandt'." Guardian 14 Nov 2009. Damien Hirst discusses his 2009 exhibition at the Wallace Collection and his turn to "authored" paintings.
Jones, Jonathan. "Is This the Birth of 21st-Century Art?" Guardian 5 June 2007. Discussion of Hirst's For the Love of God. Contrast with Shaw, William. "The Iceman Cometh." New York Times, 3 June 2007; Riding, Alan. "Entr'acte: Damien Hirst's 'Ethical' Art: A Diamond Skull for a Mere $100 Million." International Herald Tribune: Europe, 8 June 2007; Morton, Tom. "Review: Damien Hirst: White Cube, London, UK." Frieze, August 2007.
Lee, David. "Damien Hirst." Art Review June 1995: 82-7. This is a fairly lengthy article which discusses Hirst in relation to his publicity machine, the management of his career, and the commodification of his art.
Morgan, Stuart. "Life and Death: Inteview." frieze Summer 1991: 22-25. Early interview with Damien Hirst by influential critic and curator Stuart Morgan, appearing in the first issue of trendy art magazine frieze. Perhaps important in developing Hirst's reputation.
Ray, Gene. "Little Glass House of Horrors: High Art Lite, the Culture Industry and Damien Hirst." Third Text 18.2 (2004): 119-33. A critical and challenging essay, drawing on Julian Stallabrass's social-historical criticism of Hirst and the 'yBas' to raise questions about Hirst's sculpture 1,000 Years. Ray also draws on French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard's writings on 'the sublime' to ask to what extent Hirst's work offers us "the hit of the sublime", or merely the "petit frisson" of the cheap thrill of consumer culture.
Saltz, Jerry. "More Life: The Work of Damien Hirst." Art in America June 1995: 82-7. Discusses Hirst's career and work up to 1995, and his thematic concern with life and death.
Self, Will. "To Die For." Telegraph 2 June 2007, 22-8. Discussion of Hirst's For the Love of God. See also rthe eview by Jonathan Jones, in this list.
Turner, Grady T. "Damien HIrst: Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings." Flash Art Jan/Feb 2001: 98-101 Discusses Hirst's New York show, and the theme of the managed and medicalised experienced of death in contemporary culture that permeates Hirst's work.


Books with essays/chapters/sections discussing Hirst

Baker, Steve. The Postmodern Animal. Essays in Art and Culture. London: Reaktion Books, 2000. This book makes an argument about the significance of the use of animals and images of animals in contemporary art, and makes repeated use of Damien Hirst as an example.
Burrows, David. (ed.) Who's Afraid of Red White & Blue? : Attitudes to Popular & Mass Culture, Celebrity, Alternative & Critical Practice & Identity Politics in Recent British Art. Birmingham: Article, 1998. A series of essays on British art in the 1990s, which makes reference to Damien Hirst and in which is discusssed more generally some of the issues that are central to thinking about Hirst's work and that of his contemporaries.
Collings, Matthew. Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop, the London Artworld from Francis Bacon to Damien Hirst. 4th ed. London: 21 Publishing, 1998. A highly accessible but rather basic introduction to the history of late twentieth-century British art. Collings is easy to read, but rather lacking in incisive critical thought or intellectual rigor. But probably an interesting place to start, if you are not already knowledgeable about this area.
Danto, Arthur. "'Sensation' in Brooklyn." The Madonna of the Future: Essays in a Pluralistic Art World. Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2001. 393-400. Danto, an American philosopher turned art critic, describes his trip around the Sensation exhibition in New York. Danto, a champion of the pluralism of the contemporary art world, is highly sympathetic in his reading of the show, and of Hirst's work within it, which he discusses using ideas from the philosophers Kant and Heidegger.
Dery, Mark. "Mad Cows and Englishmen: Reading Damien Hirst's Entrails." The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink. New York: Grove Press, 1999. Discusses "meat" in Hirst's sculpture, within the context of the American hysteria around Mad Cow Disease, which surrounded Damien Hirst's 1996 New York debut show at the Gagosian Gallery, No Sense of Absolute Corruption.
Morgan, Stuart. "Damien Hirst: The Butterfly Effect." What the Butler Saw: Selected Writings by Stuart Morgan. Ed. Ian Hunt. London: Durian Publications, 1996. 247-53. Essay on Hirst's early exhibition, 'In and Out of Love', which featured live butterflies. Stuart Morgan, a respected critic and curator, was an early supporter of Hirst's work, and an influential champion.
Stallabrass, Julian. High Art Lite : British Art in the 1990s. London: Verso, 1999.

Julian Stallabrass is perhaps the most staunch opponent of the 'young British art' that rose to prominence in the early 1990s (and which he dubs 'high art lite'). For Stallabrass, Hirst and his contemporaries betrayed the political and aesthetic seriousness of modern art, reducing it to a cog in the growing entertainment or 'culture' industry. In this – perhaps the most at-length analysis of the 'yBa' phenomenon – Stallabrass places Hirst and his contemporaries in the context of the social, economic and political changes of 1980s and '90s Britain, and examines how their work might be understood as a response to these changes. He asks just how appropriate this response might be, and what its consequences are. Even if you don't agree with Stallabrass's conclusions about the lack of value of '90s British art, and even if some of his discussions of the work itself dismiss it in a rather summary fashion, this is a centrally important piece of writing on Hirst and on the 'yBas'.


The following discussions of 'young British art' in general may also be of use in contextualising Damien Hirst:

  • Beech, Dave "Chill Out: The Politics of 'Young British Art'." Everything May 1996.
  • Bickers, Patricia. The Brit Pack: Contemporary British Art: The View from Abroad. Communiqué; No. 7. Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications, 1995.
  • ---. "As Others See Us: Towards a History of Recent Art from Britain." Pictura Britannica. Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1997. 65-88.
  • Gaywood, James. "Yba as Critique: The Socio-Political Inferences of the Mediated Identity of Recent British Art." Third Text 40 (1997): 3-13.
  • McCorquodale, Duncan, Naomi Siderfin, and Julian Stallabrass, eds. Occupational Hazard : Critical Writing on Recent British Art. London: Black Dog, 1997.
  • Milne, Drew. "The Performance of Scepticism." Endgames. Ed. Juliet Steyn. A.C.T.; No. 3. London: Pluto, 1997.
  • Quinn, Malcolm. "Rethinking the Unthinkable: Ventriloquy, the Quotidian and Intellectual Work." Third Text Autumn 1997: 13-20.
  • Renton, Andrew, and Liam Gillick. Technique Anglaise: Current Trends in British Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1991.
  • Roberts, John. "Mad for It: Philistinism, the Everyday and the New British Art." Third Text.35 (1996): 29-42.
  • Simpson, Pat. "Sex Death and Shopping: The Commodification of Taboo in the Contemporary Art Market?" Visual Culture in Britain 4.2 (2003): 93-108.
  • Wollen, Peter. "Thatcher's Artists." London Review of Books 19.21 (1997).

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