Damien Hirst's Worth Found Dead, Preserved in Formaldehyde
The man's work used to go for astounding prices for a living artists. He sold a cow, no seriously a dead, encased cow with golden horns, for $18 million, a similar dead shark for $12 million, an elaborate pill cabinet for $22.8 million, and set a Sotheby's art auction record just this past September.
But now dead animals just aren't worth what the used to be, and galleries that showed Hirst's work at Basel had a hard time unloading it. According to Portfolio, one that had eight pieces by Hirst only sold two, both below asking price.
So, is this just another reflection of the piss poor economy? Certainly that's part of it. But now that money has up and walked out on everyone, if it ever comes back, would even the richest rush out to use it to buy a dead animal appropriated as art? Probably not. The recession seems to put everything in perspective.
The exuberant prices have become part of Hirst's identity (see: $50 million diamond skull), and perhaps the perception of his work. One has to wonder if the buyers really appreciated the art, or if there was some sick thrill in being like, "Yeah motherfucker! I'm dropping the GDP of a developing nation on a fucking dead sheep!"