Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 1995

Turner Prize 1995

Damien Hirst won the Turner Prize 1995


Hirst’s avant-garde art is back for second-attempt win

In 1995 exhibition attendance figures swelled, in part due to the debate aroused by the inclusion of Damien Hirst’s Mother and Child, Divided a sculpture comprising a bisected cow and calf. The work quickly gained notoriety, provoking impassioned responses from the media and public who berated and celebrated it in equal measure. Mona Hatoum’s video installation Corps étranger, featuring the eye of a medical camera journeying through the artist’s body, also attracted unwanted tabloid attention. The launch of Tate’s Art Now programme in this year, a gallery dedicated to emerging artists, cemented the museum’s commitment to contemporary art.


  • William Feaver, art critic, The Observer
  • Gary Garrels, Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • George Loudon, representative of the Patrons of New Art Elizabeth Macgregor, Director, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
  • Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate Gallery

Turner Prize 1995 in quotes

It’s amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw.
Damien Hirst’s acceptance speech, 1995

How anyone can consider a stuffed cow as art must lie even beyond the most illiterate mind. I fear you have smeared the great name of Turner with this “waste of space”.
Letter from a member of the public to Tate, November 1995

My sixteen-year-old daughter was at The Tate two weeks ago, as part of her A-Level Art course, and having seen this particular exhibit, has suffered nightmares, poor sleeping and cannot eat beef as it makes her feel sick.
Letter from a member of the public to Tate, December 1995

It’s going to be Hirst … he has done more for British art than any artist of his generation. To pass him over would be like the Booker Prize’s failure to recognise Martin Amis.
Richard Dorment, The Daily Telegraph, November 1995

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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1 November – 3 December 1995

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