Thirty years ago, In and Out of Love was shown for the first time. Between June 21 and July 26, 1991, gallery visitors experienced an installation that not only launched Damien Hirst as the most prominent Young British Artist of his generation but also helped reinstate London as a global hub for contemporary art.
Today, the permanent half of that iconic installation, Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays, is part of the Center’s collection. To mark this milestone, In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays) is shown in its entirety for the first time in many years alongside works of historic, modern, and contemporary art. Among the highlights on show are Henry Fuseli’s tragic Dido, first shown at the Royal Academy in 1781; Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding’s sublime celebration of nature in Scene on the Coast, Merionethshire (1818); Angelica Kauffman’s hymn to love in Rinaldo and Armida (1771); and Christopher Le Brun’s poetic meditation on beauty in Kingdom (2015).
These, and all the works on view in Love, Life, Death, and Desire, address the core themes of Hirst’s own art: love and death; beauty and suffering; permanence and fragility; the symbolic and the real; the relationships between people, places and things; and the ambiguous boundary between art and life.
Love, Life, Death, and Desire: An Installation of the Center's Collections is curated by Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections at the Center.