Home » Damien Hirst’ shenanigans

Damien Hirst’ shenanigans

VoCA’s fasination with British artist Damien Hirst continues with a review of Toronto author Don Thompson’s book, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art.

Check it out HERE.

Look for our review in an upcoming issue of Quill and Quire – we’ll post it on VoCA, too.

Thompson sets out to explain why a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark, as billionaire collector Steve Cohen did for Damien Hirst’s famous sculpture.

(Though it was later found to be decaying and needed to be replace. Read THIS article for that story.)


The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Thompson takes an indepth look at the international art market, including auction houses, commercial dealers, mega-collectors and the artists (Warhol, Hirst, Emin, Koons et al)

The publisher describes the book: “Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored….Surprising, passionate, gossipy, revelatory, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.”

The artist Damien Hirst. Image: bloomberg.com

Thompson asks whether auctions will ever take over the primary market from commercial galleries.

Click HERE to read the Art Newspaper’s short, but fascinating article on Hirst’s moves in this direction.

While we’re in no danger of this happening in Canada any time soon, it may have ramifications in the market, with more artists working independently of dealers…Stay tuned.

2 Responses to “Damien Hirst’ shenanigans”

  1. Andrea says:

    For anyone interested in the way Hirst plays the market, check THIS out:


  2. Sari says:

    Only DH can pull this off at this time, it’s a game for him and he’s playing it well. It helps that almost everyone is complying.

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