Damien Hirst (1965) is a British artist. He’s an artist that doesn’t need to be introduced. He’s one of the most important members of the group ‘Young British Artists’. His breakthrough happened in 1988 at an exhibition called ‘Freeze’ in an empty harbour building.
For The Love Of God is probably his best-known work. This is a platinum cast of a 18th century skull, set with 8601 diamonds, with a pink, large 52,4 carat diamond. The diamond skull is a symbol for the amounts of money that people are willing to spend to postpone their own death. According to Hirst, the skull is sold to a group of anonymous investors for £50 million. If this is true, this makes For The Love Of God the most expensive artwork of a living artist. There are critics that are speculating that Hirst made this up to increase the price.
Other well-known works by Hirst are animals (including a tiger shark, sheep and a cow) preserved in an aquarium in formaldehyde. British art collector Charles Saatchi has purchased one of the most famous ones titled The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living in the eighties and sold it to Steven Cohen for 6.5 million pounds. This wasn’t only a huge profit for Saatchi, but it also made Damien Hirst one of the most expensive living artists.
Artist Damien Hirst recently established his “Cock and Bull” installation at a restaurant in London. To celebrate the menu at Tramshed, Hirst installed a Hereford cow and cockerel that is preserved in a steel and glass tank of formaldehyde.
For the Miniature Museum by Ria and Lex Daniëls that is going to be opened this spring in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, Damien Hirst has made a special edition tiny little tank with a guppy.
Damien Hirst is one of the most rich and successful living artists of our time. Nevertheless, Hirst gets a lot of critique from art collectors, connoisseurs, etc. One of the many people who have made a statement against Damien Hirst, is the Spanish artist Eugenio Merino. He made a sculpture of Hirst pointing a gun at himself and blowing his own brains out. This is meant to be a comment on the British artist’s own £50m diamond-studded skull, For the Love of God. Merino has called his piece 4 the Love of Go(l)d, suggesting that Hirst’s attempts to increase the value of his own work would only be enhanced by his own death.
The Spanish artist explains that he is in fact a huge fan of Damien Hirst. “It is a joke but it is also paradoxical that if he did kill himself his work would be worth even more,” said Merino. “That is a metaphor for the current state of the art world.” The work was exhibited at ARCO Madrid and has been sold for $41.000 to a buyer from Florida. “The art market is bad, but actually this year has been spectacular for me,” the 33-year-old artist said. “It is ironic. I’ve never sold so much.”