British artist Angus Fairhurst committed suicide on Saturday, March 29, 2008. He was 41 years old. This tragedy is a tremendous loss to the art world, and of course to those who knew him. As one of the “Young British Artists” who brought international attention and excitement to a much quieter London art scene in the early 1990s, Fairhurst was perhaps not as well known as his contemporary Damien Hirst. But Fairhurst’s extraordinarily smart, inventive and often provocative works spoke with a louder voice than his own.
In the obituary published in the New York Times today, Hirst called Fairhurst a great artist and friend: “He shone like the moon and as an artist he had just the right amount of slightly round the bend. I loved him.”
What is “slightly round the bend” about his work is what makes it so great–a puckish dark humor situates it on the line between comedic good fun and unapologetic existentialism.
The Walker first exhibited Fairhurst’s work in “Brilliant!” New Art From London in 1995, and owns several of his works including The Birth of Consistency (2004), a bronze and stainless steel sculptural rendering of a gorilla gazing narcissistically into a mirror, currently on view in the Fiterman Garden Gallery just up the stairs from the Levitt Hennepin Lobby.