Damien Hirst’s Medicine Cabinets

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Among the most iconic pieces in artist Damien Hirst’s controversial body of work — a bizarre mix that includes dissected animals, a pickled shark, dot paintings, spin paintings, butterfly assemblages, a rotting cow’s head, and diamond-encrusted skulls — are the Medicine Cabinets.

The first two cabinets, which were made in 1988 by the then 23-year-old Hirst in his London kitchen, contained pharmaceutical packaging from his recently deceased grandmother’s medicine cabinet. He followed these sculptures, Sinner and Enemy, with a suite of twelve cabinets that were titled after the tracks on the Sex Pistols debut album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols . Four of the medicine cabinets from the series were exhibited in Hirst’s degree show at Goldsmiths College of Art in 1989, but the whole group has never been shown together — that is, until now.

New York’s L & M Arts has assembled the artist’s Sex Pistols medicine cabinets, along with Sinner and Enemy; a monumental four-part cabinet, titled The Sex Pistols, from 1996-97; and a cache of actual Sex Pistols’ memorabilia into a comprehensive overview of this important chapter in Hirst’s dynamic career. The gallery also collaborated with the artist’s publishing company, Other Criteria, to produce a catalogue that includes an essay by art scholar Arthur Danto, some punk prose by the notorious James Frey, a catalogue raisonné of the complete medicine cabinets, and a hilarious conversation between Hirst and former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who’s an outspoken radio disc jockey in Los Angeles.

Damien-Hirst: Medicine Cabinets is on view at L & M Arts through December 11.

Click through below for a gallery of images.

Damien Hirst, God, 1989, Glass, faced particleboard, ramin, plastic, aluminum and pharmaceutical packaging, 54 x 40 x 9 inches, Courtesy of L&M Arts

Damien Hirst, Liar, 1989, Glass, faced particleboard, ramin, plastic, aluminum and pharmaceutical packaging, 54 x 40 x 9 inches, Courtesy of L&M Arts

Installation view, Damien-Hirst: Medicine Cabinets at L & M Arts, Photo Credit: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Installation view, Damien-Hirst: Medicine Cabinets at L & M Arts, Photo Credit: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Installation view, Damien-Hirst: Medicine Cabinets at L & M Arts, Photo Credit: Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.