Damien Hirst the iconic English artist turns 50


Hirst with his painting "I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds" (2006), at the Tate Modern gallery in London April 2, 2012. The work, part of his Kaleidoscope series, consists of butterfly wings in household paint.

It’s hard to say how much longer Damien Hirst can be called the enfant terrible of the art world with his 50th birthday on Sunday, he’s no longer anywhere near an “enfant,” and his work is now so familiar to many that much of its shock appeal has faded.

Perhaps Hirst’s most famous work, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" (1991) consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde.

But some pieces will always polarize the public, some of which continue to be turned off by his diamond-encrusted skulls and formaldehyde-preserved animals (though critics have mostly agreed upon his talent and influence). And with his works frequently fetching millions at auction, there’s no denying his impact on the market.

Hirst’s iconic "Spot Paintings" are mostly executed by his assistants. This one, "Urea-13C" (2001-2006), shares a name with a breath test for H. pylori.