Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art Part II New York Friday, May 15, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Exhibited

    Santa Monica, Ikon Ltd., Selected Works, October 1-29, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    Damien Hirst’s Pharmaceutical paintings are sometimes, as things turn out, remarkably attractive warning labels. In 1995, when the present lot was painted, the present-day household-name chemical BPA, short for Bisphenol A, was just another plastics additive, making its way without comment into nearly every canned or plastic-bottled product produced worldwide. In his ongoing effort to represent what he has described as “universal themes,” some have been uncovered in unlikely places, but perhaps none quite so humble and workaday as the kitchen cupboards and refrigerators of all our homes. When Nalgene®, a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientifics, Inc., announced its ubiquitous polycarbonate water bottles would henceforth be free of BPA in the spring of 2008, it was front-page news; today nearly all high-end food-grade plastics manufacturers now prominently feature “PBA-Free” on their packaging and literature, and there are dozens of websites, blogs, and advocacy groups dedicated to informing consumers about the additive and its implications. Hirst’s Bisphenol A is a clear case for the artist’s argument that science is, in fact, an art.
    Amid growing concern, Rep. John Dingell (D–Mich.) chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has launched an investigation into BPA, sending letters last month to the FDA and seven manufacturers of infant products sold in the U.S. requesting information on any BPA safety tests as well as specific levels in the baby goods. The companies that make Similac, Earth’s Best and Good Start have already responded, confirming that they coat the inside of their cans with BPA but that analyses did not detect it in the contents. They also emphasize that FDA has approved BPA for such use.
    “Based on the studies reviewed by FDA, adverse effects occur in animals only at levels of BPA that are far higher orders of magnitude than those to which infants or adults are exposed,” says FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek. “Therefore, FDA sees no reason to ban or otherwise restrict the uses now authorized at this time.” from D. Biello, “Plastic (Not) Fantastic: Food Containers Leach a Potentially Harmful Chemical,” Scientific American (online content), February 18, 2008

  • Artist Biography

    Damien Hirst

    British • 1965

    There is no other contemporary artist as maverick to the art market as Damien Hirst. Foremost among the Young British Artists (YBAs), a group of provocative artists who graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in the late 1980s, Hirst ascended to stardom by making objects that shocked and appalled, and that possessed conceptual depth in both profound and prankish ways.

    Regarded as Britain's most notorious living artist, Hirst has studded human skulls in diamonds and submerged sharks, sheep and other dead animals in custom vitrines of formaldehyde. In tandem with Cheyenne Westphal, now Chairman of Phillips, Hirst controversially staged an entire exhibition directly for auction with 2008's "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," which collectively totalled £111 million ($198 million).

    Hirst remains genre-defying and creates everything from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Another of his most celebrated series, the 'Pill Cabinets' present rows of intricate pills, cast individually in metal, plaster and resin, in sterilized glass and steel containers; Phillips New York showed the largest of these pieces ever exhibited in the United States, The Void, 2000, in May 2017.

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Bisphenol A

Household gloss paint on canvas. 
10 x 9 in. (25.4 x 22.9 cm).

$100,000 - 150,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

15 May 2009, 10am
New York