What would you pay for a plastic skull covered in house paint? If the name Damien Hirst is on it, a minimum of £36,800, or about $58,000, appears to be the asking price. That’s how much the limited-edition skulls will be selling for in the gift shop of the artist’s latest exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.
According to the Telegraph, the garishly colored skulls titled Hallucinatory Head are styled off of Hirst’s “spin” paintings, and are just one of many featured items inspired by the Englishman’s famous art pieces. Other items include a £10,500 ($16,650) set of plates and a £700 ($1,110) roll of butterfly wallpaper.
Hirst co-founded Other Criteria, which produces his limited-edition items. How much influence the artist himself had on creating the souvenirs remains to be seen, but the mere connection to his name seems basis enough for the starting prices. The gift shop is the final room in Damien Hirst’s first major UK exhibition.
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His most famous works will be on display, including The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which showcases a shark suspended in formaldehyde. A Thousand Years features a rotting cow’s head with feeding maggots, while For the Love of God presents a platinum human skull covered in 8,601 diamonds, said to be worth an estimated £50 million ($79 million), and perhaps the inspiration behind the limited-edition souvenir skulls.
The exhibit opens after a scathing review from critic Julian Spalding, showing the controversy surrounding Hirst goes beyond his souvenirs. Spalding dismisses him as a con artist, advising the buyers of his work to “sell while they can.”
Hirst defended his art to the Telegraph. “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?’ said the artist. “It’s all about how many people want it.”
And clearly, people want Hirst, who is said to be Britain’s richest living artist.
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