A little over three years ago Damien Hirst abandoned the traditional method of selling art going straight to Sotheby's instead where the auction smashed top estimates to reach a record total of USD125m. Ironically it was also the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, setting in train a credit crunch and global recession which in turn sent a booming international art market into freefall.
As the sovereign debt crisis plays out in Europe and the world stares down the barrel of another global recession, Hirst is in the news again. His $78 million diamond-encrusted platinum skull, For the Love of God, is back in London courtesy of the Tate. The piece, which has yet to enter a major public collection and is owned by a consortium of investors including the artist himself, will be displayed in a special viewing room in the Turbine Hall during the first two months of the artist's retrospective at Tate Modern.
Image: Damien Hirst's For the Love of God (2007)