Thursday, September 18, 2008

Damien gone wild with the Golden Calf of C-A-S-H

We're sure that most people reading this know who Damien Hirst is. What they don't know, and neither do we, is how he makes so much $$$ with pickled sharks and bulls and diamond-studded skulls in the middle of this economic meltdown.

You probably heard in his latest sale go-round that Sir Damien skipped sharing the wealth with his art dealers altogether, and decided to sell the work directly to his adoring public via Sotheby's. Here's how the sale went, as reported by the Associated Press:

A sale of pickled sharks, butterfly paintings and other pieces by provocative British artist Damien Hirst has raised $198 million, silencing his doubters and defying the global economic gloom.

Sotheby's auction house said the total for the two-day sale was a record for an auction of works by a single artist.

The turmoil engulfing global financial markets did nothing to dampen prices as more than 600 prospective buyers packed the showroom for each of the three auction sessions.

"The Kingdom," a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde, sold for $17 million in the first session Monday evening. "The Golden Calf" - an embalmed calf with golden hooves and horns - fetched $18.5 million.

We've always puzzled over the issue about how much Hirst's success is attributable to branding versus the actual artwork. Maybe the two are one. Love to hear what you think about all this.

We also wanted to share with you his platinum skull, embedded with 8601 diamonds sale for $100 million cash last year. Is Damien the guy from that movie, all grown up?

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