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Sidewall, Entomology

This is a Sidewall. It was designed by Damien Hirst and distributed by Other Criteria. It is dated 2017 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is machine printed with engraved rollers. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

The museum is being offered seven rolls of wallpaper by Damien Hirst. The museum acquired Hirst’s "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever" wallpaper at the last Collections Committee meeting, and the addition of these rolls would give the museum one full roll of each wallpaper that he designed. A preliminary search of museum collections reveals that no other institutions have a complete set of the Hirst wallpapers. He designed his first wallpaper in 1997 when he created “Pharmacy Wallpaper” for the London restaurant by the same name, and introduced three new designs in 2017.

Damien Hirst is one of the best-selling contemporary artists. While he is known for creating controversial works of art, many of which include animal specimens, his wallpapers are rather tame in comparison. The themes of the wallpapers vary from beetles and butterflies, to diamonds and pharmaceuticals. The two pharmacy papers were created for his ventures into the restaurant business, while the remaining designs are based on his paintings.

There are three wallpapers with repeating patterns composed of butterflies and one of beetles that are based on his “Kaleidoscope” paintings which be began in 2001. This includes one design that was produced in a limited edition of 500. The butterfly is one of Hirst’s most iconic and familiar motifs, and the Kaleidoscope paintings reference the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly, used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection. Unlike his earlier butterfly works that contained the complete insect, in the Kaleidoscope paintings Hirst used only the iridescent wings, which he felt divorced the butterfly from the real thing.

The “Tears of Joy” wallpaper was designed for a Hirst retrospective at the Tate Modern in 2012, the first held at a British institution. Containing rows of diamonds displayed in a reflective cabinet, the design is a detail of one of his “Forgotten Cabinets” displayed at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong in 2011.

The two pharmaceutical papers were each designed to be used in his restaurants, initially just for the restaurants’ décor, then later made available for public sale. “Pharmacy” wallpaper was produced in 1997 for his “Pharmacy Restaurant and Bar” which opened in London that same year, closing in 2003. The wallpaper was reprinted in 2004 in a limited edition of 1,000 rolls for each of two colorways. “Pharmacy 2” wallpaper was created in 2016 to line the walls of his new restaurant “Pharmacy 2”, attached to Hirst’s private museum, the Newport Street Gallery. This design was reprinted in 2017 for public sale.

The addition of these rolls would give the museum a full set of Damien Hirst wallpapers, and add to the collection of papers by leading contemporary artists. They also add to the group of contemporary British wallpapers.

This object was donated by Other Criteria. It is credited Gift of Other Criteria.

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Its dimensions are

L x W: 1000 × 68.6 cm (32 ft. 9 11/16 in. × 27 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, Entomology; Designed by Damien Hirst (British, b. 1965); Distributed by Other Criteria; machine printed with engraved rollers; L x W: 1000 × 68.6 cm (32 ft. 9 11/16 in. × 27 in.); Gift of Other Criteria; 2017-60-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sidewall, Entomology |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>