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Damien Hirst: The Last Supper

August 13 – November 27, 2016
East Building, Concourse Elevator Lobby, CLA-98

Damien Hirst, Chicken, 1999, screenprint, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of The Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC), 2015.19.3221.7.

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Damien Hirst was among the most prominent of the Young British Artists—or YBAs, as they are known—who revitalized the British art scene in the 1990s. In The Last Supper, he wittily explores the role of faith, viewing it in relation to medicine and religion.

The 13 prints that make up the Last Supper series refer to the number gathered at the biblical Last Supper. Each print features a pharmaceutical label that has been altered. The names of medicines have been replaced with those of common British foods (“Ethambutol Hydrochloride” becomes “Steak and Kidney,” for example) and the names or logos of the manufacturers have been replaced by those of the artist—Hirst’s own brand, so to speak. Enlarged to a heroic scale, the prints pose the question of whether pharmaceuticals—a staple of many contemporary diets—may have become not only the salvation in which we put our faith, but our daily bread.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.