Damien Hirst Production Line

I find it interesting that a backlog of about 200 works by Damien Hirst can be news. He’s the closest thing we have to a Britney Spears in the art world, with the media looking for any excuse to publish a story on the man (I realize I do it too). All the art world needs now is some art celebrity sex tapes and some police mug shots of artists that have misbehaved. I would probably subscribe to an art gossip magazine if it was cheap.

Anyway, what was I talking about? I have the flu and I’m taking lots of evil tablets from big pharmaceutical companies, so sticking to the point can be challenging.

The Times Online has reported on Hirst’s “mountainous backlog” of more than 200 works by the artist and his production line sitting in the White Cube gallery in London.

“The items include 34 butterfly paintings dating back to 2005; six medicine cabinets with price tags of up to £2.5m and a batch of 25 fly and resin coated skulls. The “Hirst mountain” held by the White Cube gallery, and detailed in next month’s issue of The Art Newspaper, shows the challenges of selling mass-produced art.” Times Online

In a later Bloomberg report, White Cube’s Jay Jopling said that their stock level for Hirst was normal and the gallery is NOT sitting on a “mountain” of Hirst works.

Jopling said “The appetite for Damien’s art is such that we never have enough and I’m always keen to have as much work on consignment as possible. The market for Hirst was strong and suggestions to the contrary were based on redundant documents.”

It’ll be interesting to see how much more we hear of Damien Hirst as his big auction at Sotheby’s draws closer. I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t make the 6 o’clock news.

Update: There’s an interesting Damien Hirst interview (video) with Tim Marlow on the Sotheby’s website here.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Must be nice to have a team who can implement your ideas and then claim them as your own work, well sort of.

    production line art, duh! and here we all are plodding along doing our OWN work ;)

  2. Mass-produced work, but bespoke prices!

    Moneybags will be displaying 200 plastic skulls at the British Museum in October. Yawn. Probably accounts for some of the backlog.

    Have you seen Marc Quinn’s solid gold Kate Moss? That’s the one everyone will be visiting the British Museum to see, not Moneybags’ plastic skulls. What a tedious old has-been!

  3. Donald Frazell says:

    Whats the fixation with Kate anorexia Moss? Girl needs to eat some burgers. Why solid gold? Sounds as silly as plastic skulls. Depends on how you use them, as always, but both gimics.

    Hope its a bust, art world needs s dose of reality, certainly doesnt deal with it. Twisted fantasies all around.

  4. Donald Frazell says:

    Damn, Robert Irwin? Even we dont deal with taht light nonsense anymore, I will look at Monets if I want the effects of light, not badly done Disneyland effects. Hollywood past that low tech crap decades ago. We get over our fads and create new ones, you Brits get stuck on things, dontcha?

  5. I’m getting bored with the meshing of celebrity and bling in the art world. In fact, I made a post about it involving Marc Quinn’s sculpture that coxsoft mentioned. All I can say is that is doing something involving a celebrity or excessive bling is an easy way to make headlines. Hirst has done it. Daniel Edwards has done it, Marc Quinn has done it. I find it boring. I’ve seen Edwards Spears sculpture on display and I think it is safe to say that very few people take it serious even for its merits as a sculpture.

  6. Donald Frazell says:

    Hope you feel better Dion, happy Labor Day. Oh, thats right, you commies still have May Day! We nasty marketing capitalists beat that old Marx guy to it. Now if we could just get some decent, affordable insurance. hmmmm.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pop art has become so predictable. Would rather go to the movies, personally, than see a solid gold Kate Moss.

  8. One of the good things about making art is that if you are successful people don’t have the same type of celebrity as say a pop star or a footballer.

    You can be pretty ordinary, people remember your work instead of things about your personal life.

  9. I wonder if, when I die, instead of donating my body to science, I could donate my skull to Damien Hirst to put sticky things on instead?

  10. Basically Hirst is a marketer, and a very good one at that. As for
    artist, well, that’s highly debatable.

  11. Corrine, I would love a team working for me, if only to clean my brushes and make me coffee..lol.

    I guess I could come up with some ideas to keep them busy too. I think it would be a lot of fun having a team ready to make your ideas concrete. I should move to China for a year or two and hire myself a small army.

    Donald, I’m feeling much better, thanks. And don’t worry, Australia is just as capitalist and dollar driven as any western country. We dig up uranium and send it to anyone that wants it by the ship load (we’re probably working on deals with Iran and North Korea as we speak..lol). Our dirty coal is also dug up and sold to China and every other polluting country that wants it. Our ports are all jammed with ships lining up to take the stuff away. I’m suprised we don’t sell our own mothers as we’ll sell anything else for the right price.

    Helly, I like that about art too. If it wasnt that way I would have no chance!..lol. I do admire those that can get out and sell themselves though.. even if I do sometimes criticize them..lol.

    Anonymous, why don’t you donate your whole body and be put in formaldehyde? It would be more interesting than just a skull. You could be the next big “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” work. It would take the stuffed shark thing to the next level.

  12. Donald Frazell says:

    Betcha PETA wouldnt complain about that one, one less human to eat animals is a good thing. To vegans.
    Anonymous pickled, hmmm. Would he be wearing a speedo?
    Perhaps a certain olympic swimmer in butterfly position?

  13. I think people examine the life of an artist more than ever. In some cases, Tracey Emin or Dash Snow for example, I think the lifestyle enhances the work– makes it more interesting to people. I’m not suggesting that is a good thing either. It can be debated if lifestyle helps to make your work remembered though. It is obvious that personal life has helped some artists gain more press, buzz, what have you.

  14. Donald Frazell says:

    Well, Dion, the big day is almost upon us. Give us blow by blow descriptions of the heated feeding frenzy devouring Hirsts vast repetoire of art. Or have the prianhas moved on to more filling and interesting fare, like war bonds? Wonder if the saviors of the art world, the Russian mega billionaires(robber barons of the 21st century) are betting on us, or their benefactor Putin over the fate of the worlds life blood, oil. Like in all crimes, follow the money.

    Where you been? Getting supplies and preparing for the big day like we do the Super Bowl(no, not the election). Hirst already bombed in India, wonder if he will blitz the “art world”, or be blockaded into submission. And the speculators, sycophants and parasites will move on.


  15. Oh yeah, BIG DAY. I’m really interested in seeing how it goes actually. I wonder if there’s an emergency plan in place to make it look like a success if bidding isn’t as lively as expected.

    I have been entertaining friends that were passing through town.. and having a bit of a break from the internet. I’m keen to get busy again though.

  16. blankandwrite says:

    Wow! No, really wow! I didn’t expect naivety to feature as a commodity within your pages but well done you have truly managed to sell yourselves. Hold on….wait a minute….are you trying to sell yourselves? I thought this was an expression of art, not pop fantastic, you know what, i guess Lady Gaga had it right, ‘pop will never be low brow’, still if you can’t see this as the most simplistic reaction to the most overworked construction, then respect to you. I would love to marvel in your naivety. A pure bliss. Yet, somehow, I thought this publication was for people who appreciated art, not the breakdown of media too its core and its dissection by the most simplistic of artists….still if you want Warhol, you can always find your fifteen minutes of fame.

  17. Im not really sure what your issue is b&w so I must be naive, thick, or just too damn simplistic. So feel free to marvel and feel bliss.. I don’t mind being observed.


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