Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still More

I wrote the previous post and then wondered what art produced for the seriously rich would be like.

The answer took but a minute. It would be "For the Love of God" by British artist Damien Hirst. This is a lifesize cast of a human skull done in platinum and covered with 8,601 pave-set perfect diamonds weighing a total of 1106.18 carets. According to Hirst, it cost between 10 and 15 million dollars to make. The asking price for it was 99 million dollars; and Hirst claims that it has sold to anonymous buyers for the asking price.

Hirsh paid for making the work himself. We have only his word for how expensive it was. Supposedly the work sold to an anonymous person or persons who paid cash, leaving no paper trail. A lot of people in the art world believe this is bunk and the work has not sold.

For all we know, the diamonds may not be perfect. They may be zircons. So we have a combination of obscene expense and possible fraud. It's the art equivalent of the real estate bubble.

I wonder what happens when the tax guys show up and want their cut of 100 million dollars. Maybe he tells them it's performance art and there is no money.


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