Press Release

Damien Hirst’s iconic For the Love of God to be shown in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

Press release announcing the display of Damien Hirst's iconic diamond-covered skull For the Love of God 2007 at Tate Modern

To accompany Tate Modern’s major survey of Damien Hirst’s work, the artist’s iconic diamond-covered skull For the Love of God 2007 will be shown in the Turbine Hall. Presented as a free display to coincide with the opening twelve weeks of the Damien Hirst exhibition, sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, the work will be housed in a special viewing room from 4 April to 24 June 2012.

For the Love of God is a life-size platinum cast of an eighteenth century human skull, covered by 8,601 flawless diamonds, inset with the original skull’s teeth. At the front of the cranium is a 52.4 carat pink diamond. Since it was first exhibited in 2007, For the Love of God has become one of the most widely recognised works of contemporary art. It represents the artist’s continued interest in mortality and notions of value. Alluding to the iconography of the skull in art as a memento mori – a reminder of the fragility of life – the work can be viewed alternatively as a glorious, devotional, defiant or provocative gesture in the face of death itself.

For the Love of God will be shown in the east end of the Turbine Hall and will be free for visitors to Tate Modern to view. Having been exhibited at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam in 2008 and the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence in 2010-11, its display at Tate Modern will be the first time it has been shown in a public gallery in the UK.

Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate and curator of the exhibition said:

We are delighted to be showing this key work by Damien Hirst to coincide with our major exhibition at Tate Modern in 2012. Visitors will be given the opportunity to view For the Love of God as an independent exhibit or as a culmination of many of the themes revealed in the exhibition, which surveys Hirst’s work from the late 1980s onwards.

Damien Hirst said:

I am really pleased that the diamond skull will be on exhibition again in London, having been away for five years. The Turbine Hall at Tate Modern is a great place to show it and I hope lots of people enjoy seeing it there next spring.

For the Love of God will be on display in the Turbine Hall from 4 April to 24 June 2012.

Damien Hirst will be at Tate Modern from 4 April to 9 September 2012. It will be the first substantial survey of the artist’s work ever held in the UK, and will be part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. The exhibition is curated by Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate, with Loren Hansi Momodu, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern and is coordinated by Sophie McKinlay, Project Manager, Tate Modern. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Tate Publishing.

About Qatar Museums Authority

Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) was founded in 2005 by His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Under the leadership of its Chairperson, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, QMA is transforming the State of Qatar into a cultural hub for the Middle East. The globally acclaimed Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, was inaugurated in 2008. In 2010, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art opened, creating a focus for the emerging modern and contemporary art scene in the region. The National Museum of Qatar is currently being developed in a major new building designed by Jean Nouvel. The ambitious forward programme is gathering pace including large-scale exhibitions by international artists, showing in the Middle East for the first time. Among these are Cai Guo-Qiang, opening in December 2011, Louise Bourgeois, opening in January 2012, and Takashi Murakami, opening in February 2012. In December this year, the new MIA Park, designed by Pei Partnership Architects, will be inaugurated featuring the first public artwork by Richard Serra in the Middle East.

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About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor.  BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

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