DAMIEN HIRST SPECIAL
On a special edition of Newsnight Review, an in depth exclusive interview with the man who today produced a diamond and platinum skull expected to fetch 50 million pounds.
At nine o'clock sharp this morning, the artist Damien Hirst revealed the most expensive piece of art by a living artist, at his latest and largest exhibition - Beyond Belief at the White Cube Galleries in London.
For The Love of God - the name he has given to a platinum cast of a human skull set with more than 8000 diamonds, cost an astonishing 14 million pounds to make and is expected to fetch 50 million dollars. We have extraordinary pictures of the skull which you might call beautiful, obscene, or morbid according to your point of view.
Throughout his career Damien Hirst has been the object of intense scrutiny, and knows how to make a splash. It began with Freeze, the 1988 show he curated while he was still a student at Goldsmiths in London. That show put Hirst and his fellow students - Sarah Lucas, Gary Kemp and Angus Fairhurst - on the map.
Hirst created some of the iconic art works that defined the 1990s including his series of animals in formaldehyde, and his series of spots, spins, butterflies and animals in vitrines. Much of it was bought by the collector Charles Saatchi whose patronage of young British artists led to what was known as Brit art.
Hirst won the Turner Prize in 1995 and he became the self styled enfant terrible of the art world - his legendary excess drew as much if not more attention than his art.
Around him is a team of more than a hundred people who produce his artworks, and oversee his many business projects, from restaurants to his pursuit of a world class art collection - which include some of his artistic heroes Bacon, Warhol and Koons, as well as contemporaries and emerging artists.
Hirst calls his new show a collection of greatest hits - there are butterflies and vitrines including the terrifying St Sebastian as well as two series of paintings - the brand new biopsy paintings of cancer cells and the fact paintings featuring the birth by caesarean section of Damien's third son Cyrus.
BEYOND BELIEF is at the White Cube Galleries in London