Damien Hirst’s show at this year’s Venice Biennale has, once again, created a storm of love-it-or-hate-it critiques.
There was much the same uproar when Hirst had his first major exhibition at the 1993 Venice Biennale. There he presented Mother and Child Divided, a cow and a calf cut into sections and exhibited in separate display cases.
This exhibit, held to coincide with the 2017 Biennale, took Hirst about ten years and about $5 million of his own money to put together. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is housed in both the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. It consists of nearly two hundred works that he asks viewers to imagine were taken from an ancient shipwreck off the east African coast. Hirst even has film footage of divers bringing up the treasure.
Love It or Leave It
In spite of the critics, nearly 60 to 70 percent of the ‘treasures’ from the exhibit have been sold, according to ARTnews senior staff writer, Nate Freeman. Hirst made the pieces to sell. There are three versions of each sculpture. One version looks like it is encrusted with coral and just pulled out of the sea, the second version appears to have been ‘restored’ for museum display and the third is supposed to be a museum ‘copy’ of the original. The prices for the works range from $500,00 to $5 million.
Holding His Own
What Hirst has managed to do, is to hold his own in the art market. He has a base of long-time Hirst collectors, and more recent fans, who have purchased, not just his recent work in Venice, but work from past exhibits.
One of the works from his 2000 Pill Cabinet series, The Void, sold at auction this month for $5.85 million. It may take Hirst a while to recoup his initial investment from Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, but his work is still selling well. Hirst was, once again, on the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List, which tracks the assets of UK’s wealthiest 1000 people.
Damien Hirst For Sale at VFA
Some of the greatest treasures in our gallery are the works of Damien Hirst. Please contact us for more information about Esculetin, Theo-24, The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight and the other Damien Hirst sculptures and prints available at VFA.