CUDDLY FARM ANIMALS
SERIES: Mostly “Natural History” (1991–2014)
VICTIMS: 13 sheep, 7 Holstein Friesian cows, 5 baby calves, 4 bulls, 3 baby horses (with protruding horns to resemble unicorns), 2 pigs, 1 brown bear, and 1 zebra.
BODY COUNT: 36
METHODOLOGY: This series encapsulates almost the entirety of Hirst’s career and demonstrates his belief that one must “kill things in order to look at them.” To determine an approximate list of terrestrial mammals that have been used as centerpieces in Hirst’s macabre tableaux—by far his most famous works, and arguably his most important contributions to art history—we counted the critters individually as they appear in his formaldehyde-filled vitrines. Note: Bisected, flayed, or otherwise disemboweled beings are included in this tally, as long as they still retain some degree of flesh; skulls and skeletons are not.
SERIES: “Natural History” (1991–2014); “Fish in a Formaldehyde Tank” (1994); “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” (2008)
VICTIMS: 17 sharks, 668 individual fish of at least 38 varieties
BODY COUNT: At least 685
METHODOLOGY: For the exact numbers, we methodically counted the aquatic dwellers encased in Hirst’s steel-and-glass vitrines: 627 of the fish are suspended in perspex in a matrix formation—a continuation of Hirst’s obsessive interest in 19th-century classification systems. In a work aptly named Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, 41 fish are juxtaposed with shelves displaying corresponding fish skeletons. We also traced the various iterations of the infamous piece The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. While the original 14-foot tiger shark appeared in the 1997 “Sensation” show, it was improperly preserved and thus replaced in 2006, two years after billionaire art collector Steve Cohen purchased it for $8 million. Hirst also reportedly keeps a few specimens on ice, literally, should the need arise.
CREATURES BLESSED WITH THE GIFT OF FLIGHT
SERIES: “Fly Paintings and Sculptures” (2002–2008); “Butterfly Colour Paintings” (1989–2009); “Entomology Cabinets and Paintings” (2008–2012); “Kaleidoscope Paintings” (2001–2008)
VICTIMS: 850,000 houseflies plus 111 generations; 45,000 insects of more than 3,000 species; 17,000 butterflies of the Own and Heliconius species; 5 birds.
BODY COUNT: 912,005
METHODOLOGY: The vast majority of the animals in Hirst’s art are of the flying variety, from his ubiquitous butterfly “paintings” to “monochromes” made from heaps of common black houseflies. Given the sheer size of the swarm, assigning a number here was a challenge. For the housefly works—which range from canvases lightly sprinkled in flies to those fully encrusted in them— we employed some rudimentary math, dividing the surface area of each “Fly Painting” by the size of an average housefly (8 millimeters). We then doubled that total to account for the multiple layers in many of the works in this series. The most difficult task was to quantify the number of critters that took part in Hirst’s ‘life-cycle in a box’, A Thousand Years, which breeds maggots that become flies. It is unknown how many flies were first introduced to the science experiment, but female flies lay eggs approximately every six days. Since the work has been exhibited 10 times for a sum total of 111 weeks, we estimate upwards of 111 generations of flies have taken part in Hirst’s simulated circle of life.
As for the butterflies, we got our number the old-fashioned way: by painstakingly counting them. (In one series alone, 1,629 were affixed across 62 canvases.) To that, we added the reported 9,000 that were killed over the course of Hirst’s 23-week retrospective at Tate Modern, which featured the live-butterfly spectacle In and Out of Love that one outlet referred to as “butterfly Hiroshima.”
SERIES: “Natural History”(1991–2014); “Innocence Lost”; “Lost Love/Love Lost” (2000)
VICTIMS: 46 pork sausages, one diamond-encrusted human skull, 624 internal organs from 8 cows, 16 cow skulls, 41 fish skeletons, one gilded woolly mammoth skeleton.
BODY COUNT: 729
METHODOLOGY: This hodgepodge section is for those materials that defy standard animal kingdom classification—but we felt it necessary to make note of the various entrails, bones, and byproducts that Hirst has included in his repertoire. The pickled internal organs of eight cows, for instance, are preserved inside jars lined up on shelves like a creepy medicine cabinet. Eleven sausages are included in the “Natural History” vitrine series. An additional 35-edition work, Innocence Lost, comprises a single-link sausage submerged in an alcohol-filled baby bottle. According to a butcher we consulted, it would take two whole pigs to create 46 pork sausages.
GRAND TOTAL: 913,450
“It’s amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination, and a chainsaw,” Hirst declared, accepting the Turner Prize in 1995. Indeed.
If you red this far, here’s my contribution:
We often say Trump is an idiot. Being a human retard is not a shame in itself, electing him as president, I say it is.
An art scammer like Hirst is a human who tries to test the market and suceedes in covering himself in “glory” and lots (Lots!) of money. Who puts him there is not the public. Art critics may suck up to him but it’s the public who buys the tickets, collectors who buy his shit. Art critics didnt give Hirst any penny, they make money from praising Hirst.
Now, why did I write in the same paragraph about people who elect Trumps and enrich Hirsts?…
It’s your life