Auctions aren’t my strong point, so I’m leaving it to Culturegrrl to discuss the financial points of the Hirst sales. To sum it all up though, he did very well.
Scrolling through the countless Damien Hirst “rare butterfly stuck in center of a Tondo” art earlier today I couldn’t help but be reminded of the time I spent working at a Warhol gallery flipping through catalogs and looking at Marilyn prints and flower prints. They’re basically the same thing. An idea with variation in color. Marilyn however had a little more too it as at least her face multiplied made sense with her stardom. The fact that each of these works contains a rare or endangered butterfly is just tacky. Otherwise, the work tends to break down into art that will look good over your couch, and facile statements on commerce and power. Most powerfully demonstrating the latter, Damien Hirst’s print of Bill Gates peering into a shark tank (image now removed. link via: winkleman) provides a visual message with all the sophistication of the latest Madonna video. (Her recent Like a Prayer concert video sequence juxtaposed images of destruction, Hitler, Robert Mugabe and John McCain, with those on a separate loop of Barack Obama, Ghandi, John Lennon and Al Gore.) Not that any of this matters too much. At a certain point it becomes pointless to try and discuss the art — it’s only barely functioning in that realm anyway.