Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Damien Hirst has some serious deniro.

The article below refers to the recent Sotheby’s auction of Damien Hirst works. I find it interesting that Sotheby's waived seller's fees for Hirst and that he choose to sell his work without the help of the usual suspects. Apparently, this is the first time an artist of this caliber has taken the art dealer and gallery out of the process.

Damien Hirst's bull in a tank of formaldehyde with its head crowned by a gold disc sold for $18.6 million on Monday, a record at auction for one of the contemporary art world's stars, Sotheby's said. The 43-year-old British artist stunned the art world when he said 223 new works would be auctioned by Sotheby's in London in the first mass sale of its kind by a major artist. The works on offer in the two-day sale called "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever" were created over the past two years and are expected to raise more than $116 million. They include Hirst's trademark animals in formaldehyde, butterfly and spin paintings, variations on pill cabinets and preparatory drawings. The sale price for Hirst's "The Golden Calf," the bull which also has its hooves and horns cast in 18-carat gold, was within the $14 million to $22 million estimate. However, several of the first works to sell on Monday easily surpassed their guide prices. "The Kingdom," a tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde, fetched $17 million, way above the $7 million to $10 million estimate. "Afterlife," a butterfly painting, went for $2.5 million, million, double the guide price. Hirst has been unapologetic about mixing creativity with cash despite accusations he is producing only for profit. One commentator referred to the auction as a "clearance" sale. By taking his new works straight to an auction house, Hirst is cutting out the art galleries that he says take an "extortionate" amount of the proceeds, or up to 50 percent. He has argued that if the sale raises tens of millions of dollars, at a time when the art market is booming despite economic gloom elsewhere, it may attract more people to art. Hirst also has come under fire from some top critics, including Australia's Robert Hughes, who has called his art "tacky" and "absurd." The sale coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Freeze exhibition in London which launched the careers of Hirst and some of his fellow "Young British Artists."

Pictured from top:
The Incredible Journey
The Golden Calf

Prior to this Hirst made news when he created “For The Love of God”, a platinum and diamond encrusted skull and the most expensive piece of art ever created. The piece sold for $100 million to an unnamed investment group and Hirst reportedly got paid in cash.

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