Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galería Hilario Galguera, Mexico

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Once you start really looking, you get lost.”
    DAMIEN HIRST, 2011

    The ubiquity of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings has, by now, become one of the great artistic ironies of our time. They hang in galleries and offices, museums and houses of government, beautiful in their chromatic variation and with not a single hue ever repeated upon each canvas. Yet their visual code betrays a clinical coldness, a methodical strategy of illustration. Hirst’s spot paintings are blueprints, each documenting the atomic structure of the title. In addition, Hirst is not prejudiced when it comes to choosing his subjects; some of his beautiful canvases portray a healing wonder of modern medicine, while some document the foibles of humanity, such as his series of gold compounds painted on an enticing golden surface.

    Here, however, Hirst has chosen to give us the colors of an unsung hero of hospitals. The title of the present lot, Sulbenicilina Disódica, comes from an unglamorous and relatively unknown variant of penicillin, the drug used most often to combat infection. One hundred ten dots of nearly every hue cover the surface of the picture, each unique in its coloring and completely resisting the observer’s attempts to see any type of chromatic unity. Each is soundly painted in a perfect circle roughly three inches in diameter, symbolizing the protons present in the nucleus of Sulbenicilina Disódica. Here, we find Hirst seeking out the little-known molecular healers of the medical world, those whose names we don’t automatically associate with miracle drugs or historic cures. Yet our subject gleams in its full restorative glory, giving justice to the most modest of remedies.

  • 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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Sulbenicilina Disódica

2007
household gloss on canvas
57 x 63 in. (144.8 x 160 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated "Sulbenicilina Disodica, Damien Hirst, 2007" on the reverse.

Estimate
$500,000 - 700,000 

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 16 May 2013 7pm