The Damien Hirst retrospective put on for the Olympics at Tate Modern may not have excited the art world or revived Hirst’s market after the lukewarm reception to his global Spot show. But the artist’s popularity has not waned in the least. The Tate released attendance figures for the recently close show: nearly half a million visitors streamed through the former power station on the Thames to see Hirst’s career high points:
The figures released by the gallery today will be a welcome vindication for the world’s wealthiest artist. While his reputation still divides the art world there is now no arguing with the ability of Hirst, 47, to pull in the crowds. The 463,087 visitors make it the most visited solo exhibition ever held at the gallery, ahead of the Edward Hopper retrospective in 2004 and Gauguin in 2010/11.
It is also the second most visited exhibition in Tate Modern’s history, after the joint Matisse Picasso show in 2002 received 467,166 visitors.