Damien Hirst 'Relics' Exhibition in Doha
Classic pieces from his contemporary career in the Middle East
Extraordinary logistics went into staging Damien Hirst's most recent show full of sharks and diamond skulls: the Qatar Emiri Air Force was enlisted to transport certain artworks to the country, and Shell provided purified water for the formaldehyde-tank sculptures. Fly larvae for an installation titled 'One Thousand Years' (1991) was also flown business class from Britain on Qatar Airways.
On view are 93 works, many of which were not included in the Tate Modern's blockbuster retrospective in London last year, which the Qatari Museums Authority (QMA) sponsored for over £2m ($3.2m).
The region is keen to turn Doha into a cultural destination. The QMA, led by Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, has been acquiring internationally acclaimed artworks, including important pieces by Mr Hirst, for almost a decade. It is rumoured to have plans to open a big museum of modern art on Doha's waterfront. In the meantime, the QMA is flexing its art-world muscles by hosting sophisticated shows in temporary spaces. In October the QMA unveiled two other exhibitions of daring new art in Doha-with work by Adel Abdessemed, an Algerian artist, and Francesco Vezzoli, an Italian – with Hirst as the main attraction.
To call this show 'Relics' is an ironic way to describe contemporary art, and perhaps a sly admission of Hirst's status as old hat to many in the West. Yet the work here feels surprisingly fresh, and we recommend you visit immediately...
The 'Relics' exhibit runs until January 22, housed at the Al Riwaq space next to Doha's Museum of Islamic Art