Damien Hirst Solo Show Helps Tate Modern Record Busiest Year In History

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Damien Hirst's solo show, complete with a rotting cow's head and a shark suspended in formaldehyde, helped Tate Modern attract a record-breaking 5.3 million people last year.

The gallery on London's Southbank recorded a 9.5% increase in visitor numbers, making 2012 the busiest year in its history, figures released by Tate show.

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The Hirst exhibition, which ran from April to early September and featured the artist's diamond-encrusted human skull For The Love Of God, was the most popular solo show in the gallery's history, attracting around 463,000 visitors.

Other highlights of the show, seen by an average of almost 3,000 visitors a day, were A Thousand Years 1990 where flies emerge from maggots, eat from a rotting cow's head and die, and The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living where a shark is suspended in formaldehyde.

Around 1.5 million people visited Tate Britain in Pimlico, central London over the same period, up 4.3% on 2011.

Tate deputy director Alex Beard said: "It has been an extraordinary year at Tate Modern, opening the world's first museum galleries permanently dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works alongside an outstanding exhibition programme which has undoubtedly fuelled the increase in visitors."

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