$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. Leland says

    “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….

  2. Gregoire says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. Gregoire says

    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.

  5. Leland says

    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.

  6. adam says

    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…

  7. DUH says

    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!

  8. Chase says

    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.

  9. Karim says

    To everybody ranting about how these diamonds killed African babies:

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

  10. Ernesto says

    Yo creo que el arte es independiente de la utilidad…
    La obra elaborada por este artista es simplemente asombrosa.
    Por lo que puedo leer hasta el momento, la mitad de las críticas se han basado en observaciones que no van más alla de no banal, sin ver el propósito final de la obra: Lucir una pieza artística.

    Estoy de acuerdo con GREGOIRE, ya que la procedencia de los materiales con los que se elaboró esta obra (los diamantes), es para mi irrelevante.

    Tomen en cuenta que el mundo sin arte sería algo demasiado simple y aburrido…. casi muerto.

  11. Simon says

    This work is just entirely expected. There is nothing about it that disrupts or confounds expectations about Hirst’s iconography. Its amazing spending all that money, selling it, etc. and the thing just does nothing more than look like a Damien Hirst. Even the idea that its all about the money is just so Damien Hirst. It doesn’t do anything else. This work is like a joke told by a kid who thinks its really funny so he tells it over and over because it still garners a smirk here and there from those in the habit of listening to him. I kind of just wish the kid would learn another joke – or have some other emotion that was more meaningful.

  12. Benny Calcutta says

    He’s winning right now! all of your thoughts and comments is what this is all about right? I think its pretty cool and very different. I don’t know about 100 million dollars though. He’s been watching way too much Austin Powers…….

  13. Josh says

    I don’t think he’s ‘winning’ in any way by being defiled in the way he has been here… I figure that his intention was to create something profound and ‘awe-ful’ (note the puns’ truth), but unfortunately it seems his values are partly lodged in popularised, luxuriant and ultimately useless systems of worth… and incredibly, after a total investment that could have truly created something of wonder and magic, he has given birth to something tacky…. for the love of God? How anthropocentric is that? If God cared so much about diamonds, why do you think he made us out of flesh and bone? (I don’t believe in God by the way, but I can appreciate the stories) – He made us warm – diamonds are cold. He made us soft – diamonds are hard. He made us to appear and disappear – (pun warning) – diamonds are forever.

  14. Simon says

    Having seen the thing in the real I have to say this work goes beyond the embarrasing schlock slasher flick rubbish of the 1990’s that made him and Saatchi so famous, all those cows, sheep, and sharks, it was enough to make one red-faced when it was taken in America or Europe to represent Contemporary British Art. This work though has the feeling of someone for whom material wealth has produced faith that the experience of opulence has a deeply complex aesthetic effect that is worth pursuing because it allows one to mentally transcend ‘material’ worldliness. Whether that worldliness be one of richness or poverty doesn’t matter. The fact that there are so many diamonds, that the thing is so expensive, undermines the rare eloquence of the diamond as a thing itself. He’s taken a somewhat rare thing and exceeded its rarity, he’s taken a skull and amplified it iconographically using a multitude of rarity that makes it somehow common. This work really blasts the distinction between elegant and gross and it does it in the belief that wealth and social exclusivity can bring about a spiritual epiphany. Something I totally agree with.

  15. G says

    I think it’s great…love it. And agree that all the reaction that is shown here so easily is exactly what an artist wants. Plus it’s interesting that people are reacting to how the diamonds might be mined but miss out on how the teeth are actually human teeth. Everything else is a casting or inert, but the teeth are someones teeth, maybe the teeth from the original skull? Yeh I wish i had the money to buy it or a ticket to go see it, the pictures are amazing but to see it up close wow. right up there with those crystal skulls that the aztecs (?) made.

  16. SIVAN says

    Can I just say, that Damien Hirst did NOT make this skull. A jeweller made it. And secondly, I don’t see what is so shocking about it tbh… I have a real skull in my room, and have painted many, so I am not phased by the fact it is a SKULL… i mean, it’s not like it’s real…

    Although, I DO think it’s disguisting how Damien Hirst charges $100 million for a piece or Artwork that a jeweller made for him…

    I also think that he should give the $60 million profit he made to help the countries that the diamonds were originally dug up in… I know that the diamonds used were ones that were already in use, but they had to be dug up somewhere… So D. Hirst should give the money away; he has enought of it anyway…

    And i STILL don’t see the “horror” aspect in his works… x

  17. Kevin Heffernan says

    Fuck you mother fucking pieces of shit you ow me my mother fucking advertising dollars. three years and two months is enough. THis is for teddy and nick who are fuckign watching me say this right now.

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