Monday, April 2, 2012

$60,000 Plastic Skulls


From The Beast:
The skull, daubed with "household gloss" paint, is entitled Hallucinatory Head and comes in a limited edition run of 50. 
The eye-watering prices were unveiled days after critic Julian Spalding dismissed Hirst's work as "con art" and urged owners of his spot paintings to sell quickly before "the penny drops" and they plummet in value. 
For those who cannot stretch to the £36,800 skull, there is a set of 12 china plates for £10,500, a spotted skateboard for £480, a deckchair for £310 and a butterfly-print umbrella for £195. Butterfly-print wallpaper costs £700 a roll. 
The gift shop is the final room in the Hirst exhibition, the first major retrospective of the artist's work in Britain. 
It includes all of Hirst's greatest hits, from the shark suspended in formeldahyde to the bisected animals and spin paintings. 
Visitors will be assaulted by the smell of A Thousand Years (1990), an installation in which flies emerge from maggots and feed on a rotting cow's head. They can also catch a whiff of Horror at Home (1995), consisting of a giant ashtray filled with cigarette butts. 
In And Out Of Love (1991) features a room filled with live butterflies feeding on bowls of fruit. On the preview day for the show, at least one butterfly escaped by settling on a visitor's coat and accompanying them out. 
Downstairs in the Turbine Hall, visitors queue to enter a pitch-dark room housing two security guards and For The Love Of God, the human skull covered in 8,601 diamonds and said to be worth £50 million. 
Hirst, said to be Britain's richest living artist, defended the price of his work.He said: "A painting probably has the most shocking increase in value, from what it costs to make to what you sell it for. But you'd never look at a Rembrandt and say, 'That's just wood and canvas and paint - how much?!'"It’s all about how many people want it. It works on a pair of jeans as well - they're just material and stitching and as soon as you walk out of the shop, they’re worth nothing." 
Asked if the gift shop skull would hold its value, he replied: "Maybe on eBay you might be all right for a bit."
Damien HIrst runs from 4 April - 9 September at the Tate Modern.

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