Most Expensive Contemporary Artwork

Most Expensive Contemporary Artwork
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Crafted by Damien Hirst, this piece is a bit macabre, but will definitely be a conversation starter wherever it goes. The sculpture, titled “For the Love of God”, is a life-sized platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 fine diamonds, and was sold for $100 million. The title originated from Hirst’s mother, who commented “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?” Sounds like a reasonable question to me, what about you?

The sculpture was cast from an 18th-century skull Hirst bought in London. The piece is reminiscent of old Mexican skulls decorated with Turquoise.

Now, a question: even if you’ve found the perfect place to display it, and aren’t creeped out by a glimmering, grinning skull staring at you, is it still appropriate to display it? In the end, this is still a cast of some poor 30-something year old English man’s skull. Better than it being the actual skull, but it seems to be a deeply personal thing to have of someone, especially when you really have no idea of whom they were and how this skull was acquired. Art is subjective, I suppose, and if the purpose of this piece is to get people talking about death, then mission accomplished.

From the New York Times:

For Hirst, famous pickler of sharks and bovine bisector, all his art is about death. This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. “I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one — but just prohibitively expensive,” he recalls. “Then I started to think — maybe that’s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.”

Hirst, who financed the piece himself, watched for months as the price of international diamonds rose while the Bond Street gem dealer Bentley & Skinner tried to corner the market for the artist’s benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, “For the Love of God” now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.

“That’s when you stop laughing,” Hirst says. “You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.”


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  1. Mark Lee says:
    Posted: October 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm
    Rating: Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars

    You know you have too much money when you are buying something like this!