‘For the Love of God’, indeed.
What to do if one’s much-vaunted, publicity-heat-seeking work of art fails to attract the £50m asking price? Easy. Get together with one’s business manager and art dealer, and buy it yourself. Which poses a rather existential conundrum – if an artwork falls in a distant gallery, and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Or – if you purchase a work of art from yourself, does the price you paid for it represent a ‘real’ price?
After artpreneur (ooo – think I just coined a new word) Damien Hirst’s diamond-studded, platinum coated skull was unveiled with much fanfare in 2007, rather embarrassingly no buyer was prepared to pony up the cash. Rather than sell it at a discount (according to The Art Newspaper, dealer Alberto Mugrabi offered to buy it for £35m), Hirst, along with his dealer, Jay Jopling, and business manager, Frank Dunphy , and Russian neo-oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, all ‘chipped in’ and ‘bought’ the skull together.
Ah, the ins and outs of the art market. Such fun.