We’re a little skeptical about Scott Reyburn’s claim in the International New York Times that Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice is “is the most talked-about art show on earth.” But we are curious to hear his reporting on sales from the extravagant “Wreck of the Unbelievable.” Also, it isn’t clear why some commentators think it is terribly naughty to point out that art work featured in the biennale itself is also for sale through the artists’ dealers. Nevertheless, Reyburn treats us to a little of that too.
Mr. Hirst’s showmanship and chutzpah have turned this extravaganza of “post-truth” art into one of the great love-it-or-hate-it exhibitions of recent years.
“It’s virtuosity and a big workshop,” said Susanne Titz, director of the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach, Germany. “He’s supersmart, but it is cynical.”
Critical opinion of the show is divided, but has “Treasures” drawn enough buyers to become a commercial success? François Odermatt, a collector from Montreal, is one such customer.
“It’s a fantasy; the ideas are brilliantly audacious,” said Mr. Odermatt, who, like others, bought works after being shown images on an iPad by Mr. Hirst’s dealers. Mr. Odermatt said he paid about $2 million for a color-patinated Coral version of “The Diver,” a 16-foot-high bronze sculpture inspired by a Francis Bacon painting, now on display at the Punta della Dogana. He said he had also tried to buy two other sculptures, but that the editions of those pieces had already been bought.
Mr. Hirst’s dealers, Gagosian and White Cube, have declined to comment on sales.
Venice Is a Stage for Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasures’ (and a Biennale, Too) (The New York Times)