Brimming with Sheer Cheek’

Damien Hirst

an exhibition at Tate Modern, London, April 4–September 9, 2012
Catalog of the exhibition edited by Ann Gallagher. London: Tate Publishing, 242 pp., £35.00; £24.99 (paper)

One reason to visit the Damien Hirst retrospective at London’s Tate Modern is to meet the drunken butterflies. They are in a two-room installation entitled In and Out of Love. In its first room you see a few dead butterflies randomly stuck onto a group of big canvases that have been gloss-painted yellow, purple, pink, and so on, like a jumble of xylophone keys. Then you pass through PVC curtains into a bright and humid gallery where dozens of live specimens, of tropical origin, woozily waft through the air. Their dark silhouettes, passing you by, flash iridescent blues, vermilions, and lime-greens.

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