Artists Working in Platinum, Diamonds and Gold: Excess or a Hedge?
In a passing reference to the current trend toward expensive sculpture, Felix Salmon invents the perfect moniker for the new artist/luxury good complex, Damien Murakoons. Yes, the post is about Marc Quinn’s life-size gold statue of Kate Moss that weighs in at 50kg:
50 kilos is 1,607 troy ounces. At $800 an ounce, that puts the cost of the gold in the sculpture alone at just under $1.3 million — and the actual cost was probably more, given where gold prices where when the sculpture was being made. Add to that wastage and foundry costs, and the price tag on this piece looks positively reasonable, especially since it would seem to include a built-in hedge against the art market collapsing. A $3 million painting can go to zero, but 50 kilos of gold will always be worth a lot of money.
But the real focus is on the penchant for pricey materials like platinum, diamonds and gold:
It’s not just the value of the gold, either: a big gold sculpture also works as a luxury object. A lot of the work by today’s art stars is now (being sold as) a luxury good; making objects out of solid gold only serves to exemplify that trend. Long after Marc Quinn has been forgotten, a life-size golden girl will have a certain amount of status value among a certain subsection of the population. Which might constitute a second partial hedge against its value dropping precipitously.
Quinn’s Built-In Hedges (Portfolio)