Art and Design | Damien Hirst | London | News

$100 Million Damien Hirst Diamond-Encrusted Skull Unveiled


A life-sized platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds weighing 1,106.18 carats was unveiled by artist Damien Hirst today in London.

Hirst"For the Love of God" is expected to fetch around $100 million and has already generated interest from two potential buyers, according to Tim Marlow, exhibitions director for the White Cube Gallery where the skull is to go on display.

According to Bloomberg, "Hirst...said he wasn't thinking of the newspaper headlines his $100 million skull would get when he set the price. His business skills were learned the hard way, he said. 'A lot of painful things happened to me. It's the oldest trick in the world to come in and say, 'I love it, can I have it?' and then flip it for a profit.' Some traders who buy Hirst works worry about how much he turns out at his factory-style studios. Hirst responds with an anecdote: 'I had a phone call from one of my galleries. He said, 'You're making too much. Do you have any more for me?'' The diamond-studded work, with an asking price more than triple that of any sculpture sold at auction in recent years, shows how artists reach for effects to draw sales in a crowded market, and how self-promotion is key to their success."

The skull cost Hirst $20 million to make.

The exhibit, "Damien Hirst: Beyond Belief", opens on June 3rd, and viewing of the skull is by ticket only. Information is available available here.

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  1. Wow... art truely is in the eye of the beholder. Hideous yet unintersting at the same time. I just do not see what the facination is.

    Posted by: Rad | Jun 1, 2007 10:18:11 AM

  2. The Klimt painting Ronald Lauder paid $135 million for has a gold background. Which is the better deal?

    Posted by: dan | Jun 1, 2007 10:52:37 AM

  3. “A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
    – Oscar Wilde, “Lady Windermere's Fan”

    Quick, someone tell him that lamp shades made from human skin has already been done....

    Posted by: Leland | Jun 1, 2007 10:56:39 AM

  4. I wonder how many lives were lost and workers exploited for the diamonds for this work of "art?"

    Posted by: Geoff | Jun 1, 2007 10:59:53 AM

  5. That's what I was thinking, Geoff, but then is that what the piece is about?

    Posted by: Ridwah | Jun 1, 2007 11:21:43 AM

  6. It's sort of like a prop for a pirate movie.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 1, 2007 11:42:14 AM

  7. I cant be the only person who thinks is kinda cool, can I? "Art", I'm not sure. But I'd love to have that sitting next to a fishbowl or something.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jun 1, 2007 11:47:19 AM

  8. You're the only person here, so far, Gregoire, because I think it's disgusting.

    And I think anyone who buys that has all the wrong priorities in life. It should be taxed 100%, as far as I'm concerned, with the taxes going toward important things... like the terrorized people in Africa who had to dig up those diamonds.

    Seriously, something is wrong in America when multiple people are interested in buying a 100 million dollar skull.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 1, 2007 11:56:01 AM

  9. Conceptually this is so manifestly boneheaded that Hirst ought to be jeered.

    Mortality/immortality; cut/paste.

    It's stupid.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Jun 1, 2007 12:08:20 PM

  10. Geoff, you took the words right out of my mouth! You too, Ryan!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Jun 1, 2007 12:09:07 PM

  11. Leland, I found this unsettling and creepy but not sure why. I think you hit the nail on the diamond-encrusted head.

    Posted by: mark m | Jun 1, 2007 12:19:11 PM

  12. The glorification of death. this is part of American and other cultures, unfortunately.

    Posted by: doug | Jun 1, 2007 12:19:30 PM

  13. Talk about skull-fucking!

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 1, 2007 12:21:13 PM

  14. I love it. Can I have it?

    Posted by: peterparker | Jun 1, 2007 12:42:43 PM

  15. From the reactions in this thread, I would have to say it is art with a capital A.

    Most of the revulsion here is fully Hirst's intention. Congratulations to all of you falling for his latest hucksterism.

    And I would suggest anybody sympathizing with the "poor people who had to dig up those diamonds" look further into the story. The diamonds were from prior sources, meaning they werent dug up exclusively for Hirst's work. In putting these jewels into the context of death, it forces you to consider the source in the most illustrative way possible.

    In interviews with Hirst he claims this is a 'positive' work, snatching away the finality of death by glamorizing it. I dont see how your initial opinion of this can be anything but horror. However that is often the intention of his artwork.

    Hirst's style has always been melodramatic and more than a bit overstated. I would think people would catch onto this and shrug when he does these types of things. He is ultimately a shallow artist, fascinating but gimmicky. But apparently, judging from many of the opinions here, he's still 'got it' for what its worth. He still finds ways to bite.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jun 1, 2007 12:47:00 PM

  16. The only death it glorifies is the death of human intelligence which has been in a deteriorating coma for some time. At least since Pollack. Art fART.

    Eat the rich.

    Posted by: Leland | Jun 1, 2007 1:53:42 PM

  17. A jewelery maker would make something like this. It shows his lack of creativity.

    Posted by: Jack! | Jun 1, 2007 3:07:45 PM

  18. So Picaso and Mondrian are okay, Leland?

    Posted by: anon ( | Jun 1, 2007 4:34:20 PM

  19. It's great. Of course it's shallow, but so is Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat.

    Posted by: i13 | Jun 1, 2007 5:03:08 PM

  20. Is the skull female? Seems to have flat brow ridges and small chin. Would be appropriate!

    Posted by: Diana Lyons | Jun 1, 2007 6:21:28 PM

  21. I luv his work, besides the shocking value, there are some things more to savor.

    One very interesting note from the gallery about the ticket booking and the viewing time:

    "Please note that although the time slots are booked within half hour periods, the time allocated within these periods for individuals to view the exhibit is limited to approximately 5 minutes due to demand."

    now I am wondering whether i should buy the ticket or not...

    Posted by: adam | Jun 1, 2007 7:30:48 PM

  22. interesting how the diamonds are everywhere BUT the teeth. is a Hirst statement against aspects of certain aspects of hip-hop culture?

    Posted by: resurrect | Jun 1, 2007 10:21:09 PM

  23. He probably did not put diamonds on the teeth because TEETH ARE NOT A PART OF THE HUMAN SKULL, DUH!!!! Hense the name of this article DIAMOND ENCRUSTED SKULL, i wish i could bold! SKULL SKULL SKULL, college anyone?

    ...hip-hop culture, come the **** ON!

    Posted by: DUH | Jun 2, 2007 8:01:23 AM

  24. Interesting that more than one commenter has remarked with such disgust on "American" culture when Hirst is a Brit and the skull is being displayed in the UK. Believe it or not, we're not responsible for all crimes against art over here.

    Posted by: Chase | Jun 2, 2007 10:39:39 AM

  25. To everybody ranting about how these diamonds killed African babies:

    BBC News quotes, "The £12m-worth of diamonds are said to be ethically sourced."

    Posted by: Karim | Jun 2, 2007 1:12:29 PM

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