Art News Flash – Damien Hirst Arrested !!!

Art News Flash – Damien Hirst Arrested !!!

bailbond-handcuffs.jpg‘News Flash: Damien Hirst Arrested for Crimes Against the Art Market’ is a headline that I would love to see appear in every news source world wide. Although I am all for artists making money from their art and promoting art as a profitable investment I think that the actions of Damien Hirst have been detrimental to the short term perception and long term stability of the art market. What crimes has Damien Hirst committed against the art market I hear you ask, well, here are five:

1.Exploitation of art market for monetary gain – If Damien Hirst is as committed to art as one is led to believe then why did he sell “For The Love of God” for 50 million pounds when it only cost 14 million pounds to create. The sale of the skull for 50 million pounds makes it the most expensive “artwork” purchased by a living artist but I cannot see how Hirst can justify selling the artwork for this price when the concept is weak, there is virtually no provenance, there are questions about it’s originality and issues with it’s intrinsic value. A profit of one million dollars would have been significant but a profit of thirty six million dollars is ludicrous.

2. Creating false expectations of the art market – $100 million dollars is the price you would expect to pay for an artwork by an artist such as Picasso, Pollock or Van Gogh whose life long dedication to fine art and their contributions to the art world have resulted in a legacy that is reflected in the value of their work. The prices that Hirst is asking for his work do not reflect Hirst’s status, position and ranking within the art world and therefore by asking such a high price in a market that is cashed up Hirst is basically creating an inflationary effect.

3. Plagiarism – Artist John Lekay who claims to have been a friend of Hirst’s in the past, even sharing a mixed show with Hirst in 1994, has been producing skulls encrusted with various different jewels since 1993 which he claims Hirst has copied. In an article in the UK Times Online Newspaper Lekay is quoted as saying “When I heard he was doing it, I felt like I was being punched in the gut. When I saw the image online, I felt that a part of me was in the piece. I was a bit shocked.”

4. Possible collusion with investors – Selling the skull to a group of investors and keeping a stake in the artwork to capitalise on a global exhibition of the work that the group of investors is organising could be seen as a conflict of interest on Hirst’s part especially considering that the price of the work was so ridiculously high that one could question the reasons that this group of investors were willing to pay so much for the work.

5. False classification of skull as an artwork – The Art Review magazine made the comment that: “The diamond-studded death’s head could be a fashion statement, a bejewelled accessory or a dazzling effigy to all things chav. Instead it’s high art… With the skull Hirst has gone too far.” and art expert Charles Dupplin said that “This is a spectacular piece and undoubtedly the work with the highest intrinsic value in modern and contemporary art.” Both these comments suggest that Hirst’s skull is merely a decorative object with intrinsic value only, and not a piece of fine art, which I totally agree with.

Now all I need to do is get some new laws passed….

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

13 Responses

  1. I could not agree more. Damien Hirst has been laughing all the way to the bank…the people I feel sorry for are the poor saps who actually bought Hirst’s “art.” Not only did they get ripped off….but they actually have to pretend they like the stuff . . .

  2. I don’t feel sorry for the people that buy his work, I’m amazed at his great marketing skills. He’s a great businessman.

    Here’s another quote.. “A fair price is the highest one a collector can be induced to pay.” Robert Hughes

  3. I actually do quite like some of the art that Hirst has produced but unfortunately his actions have sealed his fate as far as I am concerned. I wouldn’t touch his work with a ten foot pole.

    nicholas forrest

  4. Who decides what constitutes fine art? Who decideswhat mediums are off limits? And who decides how much of a profit is too much? I have been in a few juried art exhibitions and it is clear that art judges are often strongly divided in their opinions. I’m not into death, and until now, I’ve never heard of Hirst. But when I saw his skull piece, It immediately communicated to me how deceived we are in our pursuit of wealth. Even if we could “take it with us”, we’re too..dead to use it. What a statement!Isn’t art communication after all? As to his stealing ( another’s idea (yes deplorable but)…how can you belittle Hirst for creating what you deem junk, and feel sorry for the poor sap he stole it from at the same time? I still can’t figure out how people find Picasso appealing. As for him hurting the rest of us,…how!? People always have and always will buy what they like.

  5. I appreciate your writing style. I enjoy the way you state things as if they were real and then write as though it is, only to find out that it is your personal opinion. I am glad someone is on the lookout to protect artist’s and art buyers. Thank you, darin

  6. The sad part is that today’s Art market is so blinded by the quick buck that it does not recognize the chafe from the wheat.

    In such a context the Avant-Garde is replaced by the Avant garbage.

  7. Dear Darin,

    Thanks for your comment. I am glad that you enjoy the blog.

    Nicholas Forrest

  8. Hi Pico, I totally agree with your statement as would many other people in the art world. Although the money side of things is important there needs to be a balance to maintain artistic integrity which will ensure a strong art market in the future.

    Nicholas Forrest

  9. If people would just ignore (and not buy) the rubbish that requires a lengthy essay to explain what it’s about, the problem would in an ideal world simply go away.
    Who’d pay absurd amounts to own the explanation in essay form, which seems more important that the supposed piece of art anyway?
    I just scratch my head and move on.

  10. The reason people buy that rubbish is because they either want to make a quick buck or because they believe that artworks that require mind telepathic capabilities to understand are somehow more valuable.

  11. Excelente artículo, estoy de acuerdo en que Hirst es un artista mediático, lo triste es que tenga tanto éxito, como curadora ha sido realmente dificil entender los fenómenos mercadológicos del arte contemporáneo, veo con asombro como artistas como Hirst, Maquiamelo, Jeff Koons o los Hermanos Chapman logran estar en el top de ventas y en las portadas de las principales publicaciones mundiales de arte.
    definitivamente el arte de oficio, el de apreciar a muerto, lo han matado los Hirsts, los maquiamelos y todos estos pseudocontemporaneos

  12. Great your words, is necesary to stop Mr Hirst, another who needs to go to jail is Maquiamelo.

  13. Has Damien Hirst committed “crimes” against the art world, in your sense of the word? Probably yes — but in my view it was largely in defense of art.

    I interviewed him earlier this year in Bali, where he was finishing an intense three-month painting session. I expected him to have a bumper sticker on his laptop that said, “Suck my cock vomit.” Which he did. But I didn’t expect him to be extraordinarily down-to-earth, generous, and aware of his own position in a way that is caring rather than cynical.

    Despite his image (despite what I had thought and written before the interview) I was struck by how much Damien really does care about art. The conversation completely reversed my opinion.

    When you hear him talk about painting — the interview touches on everything from the suicide of his close friend to the essence of painting to five-foot wooden giraffes, with a detour on the nature of visual language using Vaseline and a cucumber — you get the sense of an exceptionally intelligent man who is trying to protect art from the art world (including himself.)

    If you’re interested, it’s republished at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: