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Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit Damien Hirst knows how to raise eyebrows and elicit a strong reaction from his viewers. He also knows how to draw crowds. Running until September 9th at London’s Tate Modern museum, the days are numbered for catching this wildly popular retrospective show of one of Britain’s most infamous and successful artists.

Flies eating a rotting cow’s head? A giant butt filled ashtray? A room full of butterflies? “Is this even art?” is so often the comment about this notorious artist’s audacious work. And, if anything, credit must be given to Damien Hirst for raising the question of what can or can’t be art. He’s pushed boundaries and, at the very least, has gotten more and more people in an ever wider variety of circles talking about art.

The other common theme about Hirst is his wealth. The guy’s purportedly worth more than £100 million. The man certainly knows how to market himself. Almost as fascinating and shocking as his animals in formaldehyde are the items (and their astronomical prices) available in the exhibition’s giftshop. £20,000 (roughly $30,000) for a print? £5000 (about $7500) for a slap dash, hand painted plastic skull? C’mon, really?

Yes, really. And all the Hirst hubbub is drawing a crowd. So much as Tate Modern has issued a few tips on the “easiest ways to see the exhibition.” Here’s some advice the museum’s website on how to make sure you’re able to catch the show.

• Become a Tate Member and avoid the ticket queues. Members do not need to book timed tickets. Show your members card at the exhibition entrance;
• Book more than 3 days in advance and we will post tickets to you;
• Book online between 4 hours and 3 days in advance of visiting and pick your tickets up in the gallery. Tickets booked via telephone must be done so at least 24 hours in advance.
• Buy tickets from 10.00 on the day in the gallery. There may be queues at weekends and bank holidays, and your ticket may be valid for a time slot later in the day. We advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

Visit tate.org.uk for more information and for tickets.

Photo: Chris Osburn

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