Later this year, Damien Hirst will open a gallery in Lambeth that will show public exhibitions of artists’ work from his own collection.
Newport Street Gallery has been in development for over three years. It is the result of Hirst’s long-term ambition to build a museum and to share his collection with the public, and his love of curating, which dates back to the beginning of his artistic career and the organisation of group shows such as ‘Freeze’ (1988) and ‘Modern Medicine’ (1990). The exhibitions presented at Newport Street will vary between single artist and group shows, and will be open to the public free of charge.
Hirst’s expansive and diverse collection, which he has been acquiring since the late 1980s, includes artists such as Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Haim Steinbach, Gavin Turk, and Northwest Coast native artists such as Robert Davidson, James Hart and Don Yeomans, as well as artefacts and natural history specimens, taxidermy and anatomical models, amongst other historical objects. The collection has previously been the subject of major group exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2006) and the Pinacoteca Agnelli, Turin (2013). Newport Street Gallery will now allow Hirst to dedicate time and space to exhibiting areas of his art collection for the public to interact with and enjoy.
Designed by architects Caruso St John, the building will contain six interconnected galleries as well as a restaurant and shop. It has been converted from five warehouses: three listed late Victorian scenery-painting studios flanked by two new-builds at either end. Hirst acquired the buildings in 1998 and converted areas of them into studios which he and other artists have since used.