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NYC - Lever House: The Virgin Mother

The Virgin Mother, a massive 35-foot tall, 13.5-ton take-off on Degas' famous sculpture of a young dancer by Damien Hirst depicting a pregnant female human, with layers removed from one side to expose the fetus, muscle and tissue layers, and skull underneath, was purchased by real estate magnate Aby Rosen for display the courtyard of of one of his properties, the Lever House, on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, in March, 2005. In 2006, Hirst made a second copy of The Virgin Mother for installation at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

 

Damien Hirst (born June 7, 1965) is an English artist and the leading artist of the group that has been dubbed "Young British Artists" (or YBAs). He dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s and is internationally renowned.

 

Death is a central theme in his work. He is best known for his Natural History series, in which dead animals (such as a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved, sometimes cut-up, in formaldehyde. His iconic work is The Physical Impossibility Of Death In the Mind Of Someone Living, an 18ft tiger shark in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Its sale in 2004 made him the second most expensive living artist (after Jasper Johns).

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Taken on February 10, 2008