Damien Hirst's medium is the art market

Hirst joins the mania for NFTs was certainly a smart undertaking. He produced the project “The Currency” with HENI, an artistic service...


Hirst joins the mania for NFTs was certainly a smart undertaking. He produced the project “The Currency” with HENI, an artistic services company founded by Hage. They made around $18 million from the initial sale and, according to Hage, take an additional 5% of the proceeds from NFT resales.

“I have about 2,000 people online who are constantly talking about ‘money.’

“It’s like being in a cult, and I’m the cult leader,” he added.

But Hirst’s lucrative fascination with flower paintings and financial value systems made him a very different artist from the provocateur who, in 1990, mesmerized the art world with “A thousand years», a window filled with breeding flies zapped above a severed calf’s head.

Ivor Braka, a London-based private collector and dealer, acquired Hirst’s biting motorized formaldehyde piece, “This little pig went to the market, this little pig stayed at home“, at Hirst’s first Gagosian show, in 1996, for around $150,000. Shortly thereafter, he sold the sculpture to Charles Saatchi, who included it and “A Thousand Years” in the 1997 monument”Sensationexhibition in London which introduced Hirst to a wider audience.

“Damien was one of the most radical artists of post-war Britain, both as a sculptor and as a thinker,” said Braka. But Hirst’s later strategy of “making the most money in the shortest possible time was not the best move”, he added.

Under the direction of a former manager, the accountant Frank Dunphy, Hirst has become a global brand. He negotiated huge cuts with his galleries, collaborated with his merchant White Cube in 2007 to put a diamond encrusted skull on the market for nearly $100 million, then completely bypassed the gallery system the following year by sell 223 works in a $200 million Sotheby’s auctionjust when the global financial system was on the verge of collapse.

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