An Art Collective Bought a $30,000 Damien Hirst Spot Print and Cut It Up. Now, They’re Selling the Spots for $480 a Pop
“Maybe we don’t need more zombie wallworks, we just need to distribute the ones we’ve got!” reads the collective’s manifesto.
The offbeat brand-cum-art collective known as MSCHF is cutting up a Damien Hirst work and putting it up for auction as an act of protest against investors who buy fractions of pricy artworks.
The Brooklyn-based artists and designers behind MSCHF purchased a $30,000 Damien Hirst spot print and cut out all 88 of its dots. Starting today, they’re selling the dots for $480 each. Meanwhile, the original print, now just a piece of paper with 88 holes and Hirst’s signature, is up for auction for a minimum of $126,500.
“The key to runaway art world success is: merchandising!” reads the manifesto for the project, titled Severed Spots. “Who wants to make one-offs when the market has so much appetite? But let’s take it a step further—maybe we don’t need more zombie wallworks, we just need to distribute the ones we’ve got!”
Founded in 2016, MSCHF launched its first project last year when it auctioned off a computer infected with six of the world’s most malicious viruses for $1.3 million. After that came a number of news-making stunts that straddled the lines of conceptual art, contemporary design, and internet gaggery: a squeaking bong shaped like a rubber chicken, a messaging system that texts you AI-generated pictures of feet, and an app that lets you watch Netflix at work by making it look like you’re on a conference call.
Perhaps the most infamous of the bunch, though, is “Jesus Shoes”—a series of custom Nike Air Max 97s with holy water from the River Jordan in the soles. They went for $1,425 per pair.
“The cool thing that we have going for us is we set this precedent that we’re not tied to a category or vertical,” MSCHF’s chief executive, Gabriel Whaley, told the New York Times in a profile earlier this year. “We did the Jesus shoes and everyone knows us for that, and then we shut it down. We will never do it again. People are like, ‘Wait, why wouldn’t you double down on that, you would have made so much money!’ But that’s not why we’re here.”
The group issues new drops every two weeks, and they’re anticipated and puzzled over with feverish fandom. Apparently there’s good money in it too: The company has raised more than $11.5 million in outside investments since the fall of 2019, according to the Times.
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