Hirst Heads to $120M Payday

Art's bad boy prepares to move in a new direction
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2008 1:58 PM CDT
Visitors view Damien Hirst's 'Mother and Child Divided' and 'Argininosuccinic Acid' at the Turner Prize Retrospective exhibition at the Tate Britain on October 1, 2007 in London, England.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Damien Hirst is preparing for the biggest sale of his life—and for one of the richest artists alive, that’s saying something. Sotheby’s is about to auction 223 pieces straight out of his studio, for an anticipated take of $120 million. It marks an unprecedented end run around galleries and dealers, but it could also represent a major shift for Hirst, Richard Lacayo reports in Time—"a terminus, a house-cleaning by a man overtaken by his own success."

Hirst's brilliant pieces—"work that's part deadpan joke, part dead serious utterance about mortality and decay"—have been obscured by the spin paintings, dot paintings and dead butterfly canvasses produced factory-style by his army of employees. But after this auction, Hirst tells Lacayo he's going to do something different. At 43, the artist explains, “you start thinking you’re going to need something else. Something more personal, and quieter and darker.”