His most controversial financial creation, is a small sculpture called For the Love of God. It is the most expensive work of art ever made. In 2006, he had a platinum cast fabricated from an 18th century human skull he bought from an antique shop.
The cast was then coated with 8,600 flawless diamonds at a reported cost of $28 million. He announced an asking price of $100 million and in August 2007 he claimed he’d gotten it, in cash, from an anonymous consortium. Critics speculate that he and his business manager are a part of the secret consortium, and that the actual price fell short of $100 million. If true, it would mean nonetheless, that he still maintains an ownership stake in his most valuable piece, a stake he can always sell at a later date.
After Hirst’s announcement, the New York Times editorial scolded that he (Hirst) has gone from being an artist to being what you might call the manager of the hedge fund of Damien Hirst’s art. No artist has managed the escalation of prices for his own work quite as brilliantly as him. They also added that it is the real concept in his conceptualism, which has culminated in his most recent artistic farce: a human skull encrusted in diamonds.
The New York Times editorial didn’t register any disapproval of the crazed escalation of the art-world prices in general. The article seemed to say that it is okay for art dealers and collectors to speculate and profit from rising prices, but if an artist excels in profiting from his own work, he somehow suffers a loss of artistic integrity.
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