Kenny Schachter is a big Damien Hirst fan but not so enamored of the new show in Venice. In his Artnet column, he does some back-of-the-envelope work on what show cost to make, who funded it and what the returns might be (though he does indulge in some Hirstian hype at the end):
I watched the original BBC footage of the first interview about the project (OK, I sound borderline fanatical) and Hirst actually stated the figure was between £50 million and £100 million! This boggles the mind and logic—and would equate to an awful lot of mouths fed—but that’s academic and sour-grapes-sounding. Damien’s self-belief is unflinching. He’s invested somewhere around $100 million of his own money and that of his investors—said to include Pinault and the Fertitta brothers, of Ultimate Fighting Championship fame and fortune (to the tune of $30m, according to my friend Deep Pockets)—into himself. But the potential ROI (return on investment) it is enough to make a hedgie hard. The New York Times reported that prices for the new work range from $500,000 to upwards of $5 million. And everything on view is in an edition of three—one in each of three different “states”, or materials—plus two artist proofs (for a total of five). So, if each of the 189 works in the show sells for an average of $1 million apiece, the potential return is nearly $1 billion.
How Damien Hirst’s Venice Show Could Make $1 Billion (artnet News)