Friday, April 24, 2009

Damien Hirst Talks Fallen Prices, Diamond Skulls, and Bronze Meteorites.

For the Love of God by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst has been busy with the largest exhibit of his artwork to date-- which recently opened in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev at the Pinchuk Art Centre. The exhibit, titled “Requiem”, was organized by billionaire Victor Pinchuk and involves more than 100 works of art by Hirst. However, Hirst apparently has other things on his mind. He recently made statements about plans for exhibiting his $100 million platinum and diamond skull, titled For the Love of God, throughout London and that he is thinking about making bronze meteorites. Hirst also recently commented about money and the art market.

Damien Hirst is in a unique position due to the fact that he is a top selling artist as well as an influential-- did I say extremely wealthy?-- art collector. That said, Hirst has stated that he is not buying in the current market. Apparently he is waiting for prices to be more favorable before investing. Hirst stated that ’Cash is King’ in the current art market-- suggesting that artists and art dealers are willing to accept less due to the burden of the fractured economy-- thus, it is a waiting to game to capture great deals.

Hirst knows the market-- last year an auction of his work at Sotheby’s earned nearly $200 million. The irony being that Hirst’s groundbreaking auction success coincided with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.. Since that time art prices have dropped upwards of 50%. Based on Hirst’s recent statement it would seem that he expects prices to drop further before the art market-- or the economy for that matter-- is stable. That said, Hirst views the ongoing global financial crisis as the perfect time for artists to come into their own, so to speak.

Hirst recently stated that he feels that artists have an easier time making art during bad economic times and that it is a “good thing” that art collectors are not buying art as they had in recent years. Hirst went on to suggest that artists should not create art with the idea of financial gain and that the only thing that matters is if the work is “good or not” instead of how much the art is priced or how much it cost to create.
One can assume that Hirst feels that the prior strength of the art market-- a strength that made him a very wealthy artist as well as art collector-- may have held some artists back as the pursuit of wealth overtook the pursuit of creating works that last outside of the art market bubble. The irony being that Damien Hirst has become-- in the eyes of some art critics-- the symbol of extravagance that has reduced the art market to its current condition.

Links of Interest:

Hirst Says Art Prices May Still Fall as His Biggest Show Opens

Damien Hirst says crisis will stimulate artists
The "bejewelled trinkets" of Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst is Looking Ahead
For the Love of God: Damien Hirst Threatens Young Artist with Legal Action
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Brian Sherwin
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"Hirst went on to suggest that artists should not create art with the idea of financial gain and that the only thing that matters is if the work is “good or not” instead of how much the art is priced or how much it cost to create."
Very curious statement, coming from the king of hype himself. While most of us had lived by this all along, Hirst has shamelessly hawked his overpriced merchandise (some call it art) to collectors wth more money than brains (or taste). And the fishy smell lingers at the Saachi Gallery ......

K said...

I see Hirst as maybe one who plays his cards right. First of all, he has made money, a lot of money....people want his work and people don't understand him, he is winning. Also, he reminds me of Duchamp in the way he handles thing....WHAT!.....I know, I know, wait on it! : )
In a time period when the art had become submersed in cubism, or abstraction of form, motion, etc. into visual information, Duchamp made work that directly addressed the problems with art. In other words, the general reaction to his readymades was...'that is not art, art must be _______'...the result of presenting a said 'nothing' as a big 'something' (Fountain), caused much dispute but eventually, the current school rejected their conventions and moved forward.

I feel I see the same thing with Hirst. The art market had become the driving force, dictating artists' motives and styles, dictating what was successful, dictating the soaring price of pieces......and Hirst made art with a direct relationship to these problems with art. He made assembly line pieces that had little to do with individual conception but rather the 'piggy back' onto his past success. He made pieces that were all about price and commercialism and people (For the Love of God). He made art that was was millions of dollars and maybe that's as far as it went.....BUT people immediately claimed, 'That is not must be _________' and I think that means he's doing something right.

Soon, everyone claimed that he was a terrible artist ruining 'art' and the market....I don't think so. I'm not sure if Hirst IS this smart, but I feel like his work is showing you what's wrong with art by using the tools put in place by the art community. Eventually, the art market became frustrated and because of their reaction to his work, are looking for something more in art work today, they are moving forward.....he may have changed the history of art....I'm not sure, but I DO know that he is operating behind a curtain. We don't know what the act is, how he does magic tricks, and because we spend so much time trying to figure it out.....he wins. We are at the mercy of our reaction to his work.....and for that, I think he might be better than most give him credit for. So in short (sorry to have been so long!), I think in Hirst's case good art was hype, was high demand, was riduculous claims of market value; it was the only way to address the setting.....what do ya think?

BTW, I think Duchamp was a much BETTER MUCH...just had to throw that in there to save face. ha ha

Anonymous said...

Auction it off for "miracles through music" i will be sure to inform the community~

Anonymous said...

I think Hirst knows that the market is changing and that is why he is focusing on clothing and art that almost everyone can buy. The moment the market bottomed out he started selling cheaper art alternatives and looking into deals with clothing lines. But what does he care he is one of the richest men in the world and he did it with art that he barely lifted a finger in creating. Its like Warhol. Should Warhol be thought of as an individual artist or as a anonymous collective caught inside one persona? Who is Hirst without his hired help? Who was Warhol without the Factory?