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Record Hirst art sale — should we laugh or cry?


hirst1.jpgThink what you like about the art – and several leading critics question whether it is art at all – there are enough people desperate to get their hands on an original Damien Hirst to ensure that his recent, audacious sale of 223 new works at Sotheby’s was a resounding success.

Commentators have huffed and puffed about the insanity of it all — Damien Hirst, reproducing the kind of works he has been creating for years, yet still able to earn a staggering 111 million pounds (minus commission to the auctioneer) to add to his already sizeable fortune.

But to criticise the 43-year-old, the contemporary art world’s most famous figure, is nigh impossible. After all, if people are willing to pay over eight or nine million pounds for an animal in a tank of formaldehyde, it’s not his fault.

“It is as if Hirst, tongue-in-cheek, were making a false form of his own work — and doing it deliberately to make fools of the sort of people naive and vulgar enough to spend thousands on a jewel-encrusted mobile telephone,” wrote critic Andrew Graham-Dixon in the Sunday Telegraph.