Tate Modern Plans for Olympic Crowds: Damien Hirst Retrospective, Tino Sehgal Project in the Works

The jaws that refreshes: Damien Hirst’s “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (1991) will be on display at Tate Modern next year

Tickets to the London Olympics, with their seizure-inducing ’80’s-throwback identity (we think it has a certain Saved By the Bell insouciance) and all-seeing cyclops mascots, go on sale tomorrow, but even if you can’t snag a prime seat to the badminton final, it will be worth heading across the pond next summer. The London 2012 Festival, which will run from June 21 through September 9 of next year as the culimination of the city’s Cultural Olympiad, will bring leading artists from all over the world—the likes of Rachel Whiteread, Lucian Freud, Cate Blanchett, Mike Leigh, and Philip Glass—together in the United Kingdom’s biggest ever festival (note that everything about the London Olympics is shaping up to be “the biggest ever,” as far as the U.K. is concerned).

Meanwhile, Tate Modern will roll out the taxidermied shark as it mounts a Damien Hirst retrospective. Opening April 5, 2012, the exhibition will span more than two decades of the artist’s output including many of his most iconic works: your butterflies, your pharmaceutical hijinks, your spin art, those clownishly trippy LSD dots. Later next year, the museum will unveil a new work by Tino Sehgal, who has been awarded the annual commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. “The year 2012 is a wonderfully apposite time for Tino Sehgal to undertake the Turbine Hall commission,” said Sheena Wagstaff, chief curator of Tate Modern. “Coincident with the sporting events of the Olympics, the unique public environment of Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall will be excitingly animated and transformed by his work.”