With much news and controversy surrounding today’s opening of Damien Hirst’s massive auction Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, The Wall Street Journal offers a perspective on the massive undertaking. With millions of dollars at stake, the auction and its surrounding events have raised some interesting issues including how Hirst’s auction is anticipated to become the most expensive auction of artwork from any living artist ever, the decision to bypass galleries straight for an auction format and how such expensive art fits in the current economical landscape. Few if any will ever own a piece of Damien Hirst art, however the Sotheby’s catalog for this auction is available for $80 but faces an almost certain increase in value.
An artist of great extravagance , Damien Hirst’s memorable works through his illustrious career have included a $100 million diamond encrusted skull and formaldehyde preserved sharks. With the changing art landscape, Damien Hirst attempts to strike a balance between his involvement with galleries and the sale of art via auctions with 223 pieces of art produced between 2007 and 2008 and valued at £65 million (approximately $121 million USD) set for the auction block on September 15th and 16th via Sotheby’s London. Based on previous experiences, Hirst had this to say regarding the auction route, “After the success of the Pharmacy auction, I always felt I would like to do another auction. It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art. Although there is risk involved, I embrace the challenge of selling my work in this way. I never want to stop working with my galleries. This is different. The world’s changing, ultimately I need to see where this road leads.” Among the pieces, four of them will be sold to benefit the following charities, The Demelza, Hospice Care for Children, Survival International, Strummerville and Kids Company, with each hoping to rake in between £400,000-600,000 each (approximately $750K USD – $1.1 million USD). The whole list of art can be seen over at Sothebys.com.