Tate Modern's Damien Hirst retrospective attracts record-breaking visitor numbers


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The Independent Culture

Having fully embraced the art establishment, the one-time enfant terrible of the art world Damien Hirst has yet another major triumph to his name – that of attracting the most visitors to an exhibition by an individual artist at Tate Modern.

Bringing in nearly 3,000 punters each day, the Hirst survey smashed box office records for similar big name retrospectives such as the 2004 Edward Hopper show and the Gaugin last year.

With non-concession tickets £14 each, it is estimated to have made £6 million for the gallery. 

Tate Modern’s best attended show remains the double blockbuster ‘Matisse Picasso’ in 2002, which received 467,166 visitors. But the Hirst solo show, which ran throughout spring and summer in a longer-than-usual format for Tate Modern, attracted a total of 463,087 visitors.

It was the first major retrospective of his work ever to be held in the UK and included work from his legendary 1988 Freeze show which spawned a new era of conceptual art and the Young British Artists.

Spanning more than two decades of his output, major works displayed included the shark suspended in formaldehyde, titled 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living', and  'In and Out of Love', a two-room installation of live butterflies. Another highlight was  'A Thousand Years', a fly-covered cow's head in a glass box.

"We are delighted that so many people came to see and discuss the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern,” Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said. “It was wonderful to see such iconic works brought together in one place and to offer our visitors a chance to experience them first-hand."

The exhibition was also part of the London 2012 Festival, the final part of the Cultural Olympiad which ran in compliment to the Olympics.