Can Damien Hirst sell all the work he makes? This seems to be the question posed by the Art Newspaper’s weekend story Revealed: The Art Damien Hirst Failed to Sell. Reporting the availability of 210 unsold Hirst works at White Cube, his London gallery, the article lists a number of available works from various shows at the gallery over the last 6 years. Admittedly, the number sounds like an awful a lot — the work is worth in excess of £100m — and certainly White Cube Exhibitions Director Tim Marlow comment to Times Online UK indicates it would be a large number for the gallery. “I'd be very happy if there were 200 Hirsts still available, because he is the most successful artist in the world.”
In other words, “Of course, his sales are great!” Meanwhile some speculation has been circulating that the source of these “gallery documents”, may have been the gallery itself. Pursuing additional sale venues for his huge production, Hirst’s straight-to-Sotheby’s sale September 14th and 15th — the first of its kind — circumvents his gallery, and as Art Observed carefully puts forth, may be the source of some tension . I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some animosity there, though the question of what the gallery might gain from the leak seems murky at best. Whatever advantage they might get from the additional PR I suspect they’d lose with the impression that artist’s market is unstable.