Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On a recent garage art sale - II

From the description of items offered up at a recent auction, one might think that the items being hawked were the leftovers of a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

For sale were variations on all of his best-known themes: dead animals, including several sharks, a calf, a zebra and doves, all submerged in formaldehyde; glass cabinets filled with diamonds, cigarette butts and practically everything in between; and paintings and drawings with his signature skulls and dots, swirls and butterflies.

No, it was not a garage sale of the remnants of a science experiment; it was Damien Hirst's first solo auction (yes, first solo show is 'out', solo auctions are 'in'). A new precedent was set where he bypassed dealers, gallerists and other middlemen to sell his works. In spite of the Lehman's and Merrill’s going down, investors seem to think that art is still a good bet (I am not complaining – but this kind of art - I do not know?). He seems to have made good on the first day of auction of the motley items on sale and the day netted over a $100 million.

The questions I raised regarding the new avenue explored by him still remain.

Here is a description of a couple of works that did not sell...
- 'Devil Worshiper': A canvas with dead flies.
- 'Theology, Philosophy, Medicine, Justice': Four dead bullsharks floating in two tanks.

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