Monday, April 2, 2012

Damien Hirst Called An "Oligarch" By Bloomberg News: "It's All About Money"

Damien Hirst often says that for an artist to be taken seriously, the art should outshine the cash. In his retrospective at Tate Modern (through Sept. 9), the cash sometimes gets the upper hand. Security guards mind his $80 million dollar diamond skull as they would a jewelry store, refusing women with handbags. A nearby stall sells $75 dollar T-shirts featuring the sparkly cranium. Cash inevitably comes up in conversation as the U.K.’s richest artist is interviewed on Tate’s top floor. Jovial Hirst has lost his scruffiness. He looks not unlike an oligarch on his day off: black jacket over a black shirt, multiple (skull) rings, a gold chain around his neck. With his auction prices down -- the most a Hirst fetched last year was a mere $1.8 million, versus $19.2 million in 2007, according to the Artnet database -- Hirst talks up his market. “Art is the greatest currency in the world,” says Hirst, 46. “Gold, diamonds, art: I think they’re equal things.”  More>>