Sunday, December 14, 2008
CRISIS HITS HIRST AND HURTS STAFF
One would have thought that His Excellency Damien Hirst, unchallendged Pope of Factory-Contemporary Art, would have been recession-proofed. Et bien non !!
My favorite informer in London told me that he laid off his studio-factory staff on Thursday 12 December : almost 80% of the nice artists who make the pills for Hirst's drug cabinet series were told their contracts were not being renewed.
Another three who make his butterfly paintings were also told they were surplus to any current requirements. Their salary is or was in the region of £19,000 a year.
Not too generous for a man who is considered the richest artist on earth with his 130 million Pounds at 42. Remember that in December 2004, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (picture) was sold by Saatchi to American collector Steve Cohen for $12 million (£6.5 million), in a deal negotiated by Hirst's New York agent, Gagosian. Steve Cohen, a Greenwich hedge fund manager, then donated the work to MoMA.
Hirst is used to making dollars by the hundred of thousands and it is certainly a sign of the times if this poor artist does not have any more money to pay his employees. Donations can be made at the Gagosian Gallery in New York city.