Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 11, 2012 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Created and gifted to José Férez Kuri by Damien Hirst

  • Exhibited

    London, Royal Academy of Arts, GSK Contemporary/Burroughs Live, co-curated by José Férez Kuri and David Thorp, October 31, 2008-January 19, 2009

  • Literature

    A. Taylor, "GSK Contemporary", Royal Academy of Arts Magazine, Winter 2008, issue number 101, p. 50 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    '"I’ll be right back" were the last words spoken by Burroughs inside the ambulance as he was taken to hospital. I wrote them down and kept them with other papers from the time of his death, inside a box along with earth from his grave. When Damien Hirst saw the quote among the objects, he had the title for his artwork. Besides those papers and the earth, Damien chose other objects of mine related to William and placed them with respect and artistry in the cabinet. They include regulation targets and several bullet shells from our shooting sessions; William’s last dose of methadone in its original bottle; signed small literary editions; two containers with 916 photos I took of him and his world during the last ten years of his life, including some from his wake and funeral; hand-written cards with wise admonitions; a tape of him reading his essay The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; a railway spike that he saw in a dream and that later we found by the tracks, and the secret agent eyeglasses he gave me one Christmas.' - José Férez Kuri (1951-2010) close friend and mentor to William S Burroughs
    (Royal Academy of Arts Magazine, Winter 2008, "GSK Contemporary", issue number 101, p. 50)

  • 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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I'll Be Right Back: Portrait of William Burroughs

mdf cabinet with assorted found objects, glass shelves and doors with lock
overall: 36 x 48 x 6 1/4 in. (91.4 x 121.9 x 15.9 cm)
Signed, titled, dedicated, and dated "Hirst, I'll be right back, portrait of William Burroughs, for Jose, Damien Hirst, 3rd May 2004, for Jose!" on the reverse.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $182,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

Contemporary Art Day
11 May 2012
New York