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Damien Hirst opens a gallery

Rick Fulker
October 7, 2015

Damien Hirst is beginning a new career: as a gallery owner in London. The Newport Street Gallery will exhibit his personal art collection, which numbers in the thousands and includes the likes of Bacon and Picasso.

Bildergalerie Damien Hirst
Image: Imago/UPI Photo

Opening on October 8 with an exhibition of works by British abstract painter John Hoyland, the Newport Street Gallery occupies a substantial part of the street south of the Thames. The brick structure, a formal industrial site, took three years to complete at a cost of 25 million pounds ($38 million). Yet entrance is free of charge.

Is Damien Hirst, whose net worth is estimated at $350 million (310 million euro), a philanthropist? That is not necessarily the most apt description of the 50-year-old real-estate magnate, publisher, art legend and jet-setting erstwhile enfant terrible, now sometimes called a "former superstar."

Although some of his recent exhibitions have been panned by critics, interest in Damien Hirst's own creations is bound to get a boost after the opening of his gallery, where he will show works by other artists from his personal collection.

There are more than enough of them to go around; they number in the thousands and include headline artist colleagues of the 20th and 21st centuries. While cynics call it "the next step in a plan to dominate the art world," others are praising the gallery as a most worthy enterprise.

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