In recent years, art collectors and auction houses have been reaping the profits of soaring contemporary art prices, while living artists watched with chagrin. Now Damien Hirst has stepped into the fray, bypassing the gallery system and bringing his latest works straight to auction. "It’s a very democratic way to sell art," says Hirst, "and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art."
Hirst's pieces, all produced in the last 2 years, will be auctioned off by Sothebys in London this September. The auction, entitled "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," will include "The Golden Calf," a bull suspended in formaldehyde with a solid gold crown, hooves, and horns. The piece is expected to fetch between $16 million and $24 million. (Read more art stories.)