Damien Hirst’s wonder year

With Dead Head

Glyn Thompson, the pickler’s first teacher, sets the artist’s early record straight…

Hirst scholars will have noted a change in the authorised chronology in the Tate Modern Hirst retrospective catalogue to a venerable biographical item, the entry for March link 2002 (The Reliance, Leeds). In the corrected Tate chronology the former title, Damien Hirst’s Art Education, now reads as Fountain Footnotes (The Kominski Suite), the result of due diligence carried out by Loren Hansi Momodu. However, neither titles are strictly correct, since that on the invitation to the private view, delivered to the White Cube in Hoxton Square in late February 2002, read Fountain Footnotes (The Kominski Suite) some drawings, from a private collection, from the archaeology of Damien Hirst’s art education. The exhibition entitled ‘Damien Hirst’s Art Education – Reprised’, opening this month, thus consolidates the position of The Reliance in the authorised Hirst chronology.

As a consequence of this more comprehensive due diligence, the reinstatement of Jacob Kramer to Hirst’s chronology allows new light to be cast on a significant moment in his art education hitherto obscured by the mis-identification of his alma mater as ‘Leeds College of Art’. To his credit, Hirst has corrected this mistake – in On The Way to Work (2001) and in the interview with Nicholas Serota in the Tate Retrospective catalogue – but this has