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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Hopes that ‘the Hirst effect’ will pave the way for more major art to head to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 July 2018

Hymn by Damien Hirst outside Norwich University of the Arts in Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hymn by Damien Hirst outside Norwich University of the Arts in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

After sparking debate in Norwich for more than three months, today Damien Hirst’s 20ft Hymn sculpture will bid farewell.

Damien Hirst's statue 'Hymn' outside NUA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDamien Hirst's statue 'Hymn' outside NUA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In an operation lasting several hours, the artwork will be removed from its spot outside Norwich University of the Arts in St George’s Street.

Meanwhile, in north Norfolk the artist’s Colour Space paintings are being packed away after Houghton Hall’s Damien Hirst exhibition finished on Sunday – although people can still see some Hirst sculptures at the hall until September.

The hope is “the Hirst effect” will pave the way for more great art to head to the region.

Professor Neil Powell, NUA’s pro vice-chancellor, said: “Hymn’s installation at NUA has achieved precisely what we’d hoped: it has generated debate about art and arts’ place in society. We’ve witnessed parents having positive, good humoured conversations about anatomy and art with their children, tourists taking selfies, and people with a strong personal or professional interest in arts and culture visiting.”

Damien Hirst's statue 'Hymn' is lifted into place during the installation outside NUA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDamien Hirst's statue 'Hymn' is lifted into place during the installation outside NUA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said talks were under way about bringing another major work by a different artist to Norwich.

At Houghton Hall, Lord Cholmondeley said the Damien Hirst exhibition had attracted people of all ages and he was particularly pleased that it had encouraged more younger people to visit the hall. He said the show had brought “considerably more” visitors to Houghton, with some coming from across Europe and America, and that he had enjoyed seeing people’s responses to the work.

“It’s nice to see the enthusiasm and the excitement,” he said. “It is not to everyone’s liking, it’s provocative. I think a good show should be provocative, and this one is, especially the sculpture. It’s quite provocative to take down old masters and put up brightly coloured Colour Space paintings too.”

The exhibition was the latest in a number of contemporary shows Houghton has hosted, and Lord Cholmondeley said he hoped there would be more in the future.

'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

“It’s been an important thing to revitalise and have something other than the historic. It’s lovely to mix [the old and the new] and have something of our time in a historic setting, that’s the idea, and I think we are the only ones doing that on this scale especially.”

When asked was in store at Houghton next, he said: “We have got plans but nothing definite yet. We are looking at something for next year.”

Still time to catch some of Damien Hirst’s work in Norfolk

Damien Hirst and Lord Cholmondeley. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst and Lord Cholmondeley. Picture: Ian Burt

While Damien Hirst’s Hymn sculpture is leaving Norwich and his Colour Space paintings have been taken off Houghton Hall’s walls, people still have the chance to catch some of the artist’s work in Norfolk throughout the summer.

Many of Damien Hirst’s sculptures that featured in the Houghton Hall exhibition will actually remain on display at the historic north Norfolk hall until the end of September.

They include Anatomy of an Angel (2008), Wretched War – The Dream is Dead (2007), The Virgin Mother (2005-2006), Temple (2008), Myth (2010) and Legend (2011).

Houghton Hall is open 11am-5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holiday Monday until September 30.

'Legend' and 'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Legend' and 'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

There will also be a special open day for Norfolk Day on Friday, July 27 from 11am until 5pm, although house will not be open.

For more information, including admission fees, visit www.houghtonhall.com

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