When an Art Collective Cut Up a $30,000 Damien Hirst Spot Print, the Spots Sold Out. Now the Leftover Paper Just Sold Too—for $261,000
The collective also sold the 88 individual spots cut out from the print individually.
Last week, a collective of artists and designers called MSCHF cut up a Damien Hirst spot print and sold each of the 88 individual spots for $480 each. They then put up for auction what remained of the original $30,000 print: a piece of paper filled with holes and bearing Hirst’s signature. That new work, titled 88 Holes, just sold for $261,400—more than eight and half times its original value as a work by Hirst.
As much as the feat reads as an indictment of the very market the project cheekily critiqued, the members of the MSCHF were actually encouraged by the sale.
“I’d like to say that it’s a hopeful sign that the art market still has hunger for innovation, and that, as much as buyers reward artists for churning out the same thing year-over-year, there’s still room to branch out,” says Kevin Wiesner, a creative director at MSCHF.
The work, a Banksy-esque blend of between highbrow conceptual art and low-brow internet tomfoolery, was intended as a comment on fractionalized art investment and the hyper-speculative nature of the market.
“Art valuation is largely a function of attention,” Wiesner says. “One way to do that is beat buyers over the head with a style over and over until it’s recognizable enough—the Spots basic strategy—but another is to dramatically break with the usual—our iconoclastic gambit.”
Over the course of the 10-day online auction, 88 Holes brought in just under 20 bids, a representative for the group says. The 88 spots cut from the Hirst print, which were priced at $480 a pop, sold out in under a minute—bringing the project’s total revenue to more than $300,000.
“The truest irony, perhaps, has been watching people flip their individual spots on eBay for three, four, and five times the selling price—even before we’d shipped them,” says Wiesner.
Indeed, a quick scan of the online auction site shows that there are at least a dozen spots available for resale, listed next to other sought-after products from the collective’s previous drops, including a chicken-shaped bong and pairs of Nike sneakers with holy water from the River Jordan in the soles.
The spots range in price on the site from $1,000 to $3,500.
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