Category Archives: Damien Hirst

Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, London

Dan Colen at the Newport Street Gallery

Another fun exhibition – Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ –  at Damien Hirst’s spacious Newport Street Gallery has now  been extended until January 28th.

Note: There seem to be road works everywhere in Westminster so if you’re driving be persistent – there is a way through!!

Colen examines notions of identity and individuality, set against a portrait of contemporary America.

Haiku (2015-17)

His works are said to be read as self-portraits. Colen (born 1979 in New Jersey) must have been feeling quite down when he made this big sad Scooby Doo (Haiku 2015-17).

There are a variety of fascinating shapes punched through the walls (Livin and Dyin) of Wile E. Coyote, Kool-Aid Man, Roger Rabbit and of Colen naked. The walls are around 1 foot thick. I wonder how they were originally knocked through and whether they will be made good completely or become a permanent display.

Untitled (Me and You) 2006-7

This mysterious painting Untitled (Me and You 2006-7)  is one of my favourite works from this exhibition. It is one of a series of Colen’s paintings based stills from Disney’s Pinocchio showing a candle on the workbench of Pinocchio’s creator – Geppetto.


A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

The Asstrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum

Loved our trip to the Astrup Fearnley  Modern Art Museum on the bay. Couldn’t understand why the collector bothered with so many of Damien Hirst’s half animals in formalin. When there was a scandal about keeping children’s brains I turned out my mounted specimens of cancers but I thought of offering the museum the head of my fractured right femur. I still have it in a jar in my bathroom cabinet – much more interesting and educational that half a cow.

Oslo harbour

Lovely view of the harbour complete with two-masted sailing vessel. Just not enough time to go across to the Viking museum.

Cindy Sherman as demure lady



I very much liked their collection of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Amazing what she can turn herself into.



Untitiled #152



Hard to realise that this painting Untitled #152 of what apprears to be a bald man is also her.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles 1988

We both liked Jeff Koons’  porcelain Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his chimpanzee,  in white and gold. Seeing Koons’ name reminded me of the hallucinations i had in the High Dependency Unit (HDU; dependant on care not on drugs) following my heart attack last August after I came off the ventilator.

Memoir extract from Chapter 28 of Woman in a White Coat

Continue reading A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

Westminster Cardiac Support Group

I never felt after my various other medical catastrophes including breast cancer and a broken hip that I wanted to join a support group. As far as I was concerned, I knew how I needed to come to terms with my extra disability and I just got on with it.

However, St Thomas’s Hospital Critical Care consultants arranged first a follow up clinic for patients who had been in Intensive Care and then scheduled Evening Support (Discussion) groups for survivors and close relations.

I was surprised and delighted with how helpful and reassuring it was to talk to people who had been in a similar situation and with whom I could swap war stories.

I had a particular lurid crop of hallucinations after my heart attack last August – up to 80% of patients in critical care experience some delusions that seem very real to us. Mine will be going into the Final Chapter of my nearly finished memoir.

I loved hearing about those that other patients had. One man was convinced burglars came in the night and stole all the hospital’s bandages. The nurses’ denials didn’t convince him one bit. One of my delusions was that Damien Hurst and Jeff Koons had presented the High Dependence Unit with priceless artefacts. My response was that they made the ward look untidy!!

Pimlico Library on the corner of Lupus Street

The Library Manager of Pimlico Library has kindly offered us a meeting room for our proposed Westminster Cardiac Support Group for one evening a month , There is a pleasant -looking coffee bar upstairs for anyone who comes early and we would provide water and soft drinks during the meeting. It also has a toy library!!

A quiet corner showing the entrance to the meeting room

Buses #C10, 24 and 360 stop outside, for the good walkers both Victoria and Pimlico Undergrounds are in walking distance and there is a lift down to the library level.

It’s a very generous offer and I hope plenty local post-cardiac catastrophe patients and their near-ones will come.

Pimlico Library

This is a large library with a huge range of facilities serving the general public and Pimlico Academy.

Locations and contact details

Opening hours

Day Main library
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 8pm
Saturday 9.30am to 5pm
Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm

Facilities and services

The Pharmacy Café at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery

Pills and potions
Pills and potions

Most of the first floor of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery is given over to his Pharmacy Café.
At the far end there are white shelves bearing serried ranks of boxes and tubes of medical drugs – a version of his Pharmacy  installation which toured the galleries.  I find it far less interesting than the Pharmacy department at my local Boots the Chemist.

Barista SArt
Barista Art

My Latte was fine. it even had a little homunculus made by the barista, but my blueberry muffin was so full of sugar neither of us could eat it.

Most people seemed to have come in for a greasy fry-up for late breakfast.


Pharmacy at the Castle of Heidelberg
Pharmacy at the Castle of Heidelberg

But if you want to see a selection of fabulous old pharmacies you need to go to the Pharmacy Museum in the Castle of Heidelberg that  we visited during a Rhine River Cruise.

Incredible workmanship
Incredible workmanship


These are not just MDF shelves filled with loot from a local chemist. These are lovingly created hand-crafted shelves and drawers containing individually created medicaments – which may have been, but often were not,  efficacious.

Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery

The Souvenir Shop
The Souvenir Shop

For me, a bisected cow preserved in formaldehyde as an art object is perverse, as is rotting meat. And it is shameful to kill thousands of butterflies to make a pretty design or capture them to hatch out and die in the Tate Gallery but I very much admire Damien Hirst’s generosity in opening his Newport Street Gallery, London SE11 6AJ, with entry free of charge.

The exhibition we went to was of part of his collection of Jeff Koons’ art. Hirst permits photography – except in the Sexually Explicit Room which contains two images of Jeff Koons at it with his porn-star wife, as well as Koons’  huge Bowl with Eggs (Pink) 1994-2009.

Balloon Monkey (Blue) 2006-2013
Balloon Monkey (Blue) 2006-2013

I find it difficult to choose which of the objects to show here – I liked them all – or almost all. Koons’ work is certainly best seen in a collection like this, rather than as a couple of examples in a general exhibition of Modern Art.


Balloon Monkey (Blue), a huge stainless steel finely polished structure does it for me  If you click on the image and enlarge it you can see how tiny by comparison are the humons reflected in its immaculate surface.

New roomy Toyota Family Camry 1983
New roomy Toyota Family Camry 1983