English sculptor, painter, and designer. The most prominent member of the group known as Young British Artists (YBA), he won the Turner Prize in 1995 with Mother and Child Divided, a bisected cow and calf presented in a glass case. He became known for his hugely expensive dead animals pickled in formaldehyde and displayed in glass, for example, a shark (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1992)) and a sheep (Away from the Flock (1994)).
The main focus of his work has been an exploration of mortality, notably in his Natural History series in which dead animals are presented as reminders of death, evoking the fragility of life. Some of these works have provoked demonstrations by animal rights activists. His other work has included abstract paintings and the design of restaurants. In 1997 he published a book on his life and work, I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever. In 2007 his For the Love of God, a human skull formed out of platinum and encrusted with diamonds, became the most expensive work sold by a living artist when it sold for £50 million/$100 million. In 2009 he designed a bicycle for US cyclist Lance Armstrong to use in the Tour de France that set a record when it was auctioned for $500,000 in New York.
Hirst studied at Goldsmiths' College, London, 1986–89, and first attracted attention for organizing an exhibition of student work called Freeze in 1988. The talent for publicity shown on this occasion helped his swift rise as the best-known British avant-garde artist of his generation.
Sculpture of the 20th Century