Marc Quinn’s “Self” On Offer to UK’s National Portrait Gallery Raises Objections
The Times of London covers the controversy:
If the NPG can raise £350,000 by the end of the year, it will display Marc Quinn’s refrigerated Blood Head alongside portraits of kings and queens, statesmen and scientists who made their mark on the nation’s history.
David Lee, a leading art commentator and editor of The Jackdaw, said: “This suggests to me that the NPG is beginning to collect art rather than portraits, which is against its remit … What I’d question is whether Marc Quinn is famous enough to be in the NPG.”
Blood Head or Self was made in 2006 with ten pints of Quinn’s blood. It is the latest in a series that began in 1991. One of them was bought for a reported £13,000 by the advertising millionaire Charles Saatchi who caused a furore in 1997 by lending it to the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition, along with other bloody works from his collection.
Since then the artist has made a new cast every five years, claiming that he is documenting his own transformation and ageing. He is said to be planning a final one after his death, when he wants his blood to be drained out of his body.
The NPG hailed the Blood Head as “unconventional, innovative and challenging” and said that it would complement its extensive collection of artists’ self-portraits made over the past 500 years.
The Art Newspaper uses the event as an opportunity to uncover where the other three iterations of Self are now. The first cast from 1991 was bought by Charles Saatchi:
In 2006 Saatchi sold his Self to Steve Cohen, the Connecticut-based hedge fund billionaire and major collector. Quinn’s second Self, made in 1996, was bought by Texan collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. It is now partly owned with the Dallas Museum of Art (where it is currently in storage), and it will ultimately remain there as a full gift. The 2001 Self belongs to Korean collector Kim Chang-il (“C.I. Kim”), who has a private museum in a shopping complex he owns in Cheonan, outside Seoul.
Museum Needs £200,000 for Marc Quinn’s Blood Portrait (The Art Newspaper)