Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 16, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I really like making them. And I really like the machine, and I really like the movement. Every time they’re finished, I’m desperate to do another one.”
    Damien Hirst, 2001

    Damien Hirst has solidified his position as the most widely maligned and critically acclaimed artist of the 20th century. Having first gained infamy in 1992 in Charles Saatchi’s exhibition Young British Artists, Hirst continues to push and expand the boundaries of contemporary art stretching the viewer’s perception of what is possible both with regards to the technique and technology as well as what is possible to contextualize as “art.” His spin paintings, of which Beautiful Ain’t That a Kick in the Head Painting from 2008 is a superb example, are the culmination of all of his eccentricity and enthusiasm for his materials and the spontaneity and energy inherent in the creative process.

    Hirst has sometimes been portrayed as having an outsized interest in death; however, the spin paintings are a fantastic thread of his oeuvre which is almost completely oriented towards the celebration of life and technology, culture and the inherent beauty of things even in spite of the feverish activity of their own inception. Done in highly keyed color palettes such as here with its rich deep navies, electric yellows, and vermilion reds all set of and accentuated by the slash of black, Beautiful Ain’t That a Kick in the Head Painting seems to literally vibrate with its tonal energies. Each of the paintings in the series, which was first initiated in the early 1990’s, is titled “Beautiful…painting” and truly each one is an ecstatic and dynamic festivity of color and action, creation and destruction, humanism and technology.

  • 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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Beautiful Ain't That a Kick in the Head Painting

household gloss on canvas
72 in. (182.9 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated "'Beautiful Ain't That a Kick in the Head Painting' Damien Hirst 2008" on the reverse; further signed "D Hirst 2008" and stamped with Hirst Studio stamp on the reverse stretcher bar.

$450,000 - 550,000 

Sold for $581,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 16 May 2014 11am