January 18, 2005
"… a big loss for Britain …"

It's always hard to tell of course, but I reckon that this could be a very smart move.

Charles Saatchi, who bought Damien Hirst's infamous 14-foot tiger shark floating in a tank of formaldehyde for £50,000 pounds 14 years ago, has been offered £6.25 million for the work.

The deal is likely to be clinched "in the next few weeks," said a spokesman for Mr Saatchi yesterday.

With the sale, Mr Saatchi, who is the country's biggest collector of contemporary art, will relinquish the most iconic work by a British artist in the late 20th century and the single most valuable asset in his collection.

My favourite comment on this is by Sunday Times arts editor Richard Brooks, who solemnly states, in an article about this deal last Sunday:

The departure of the shark, which was placed in formaldehyde in a tank to help its preservation, is a big loss to Britain. …

SharkTank.jpgTo me it seems more like a big profit.

Will there be one of those public appeals, in which The Nation is asked to stump up a vast sum to keep some vital National Treasure in its Rightful Place? I somehow think not, because the laughter would be too humiliating to those who would be humiliated, and too enjoyable to those who would enjoy it.

I found this picture of Hirst's greatest coup here.

My thanks to Gerald Hartup for alerting me to this unfolding national catastrophe. (Well, for some people, it is.)

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:26 PM
Category: Modern art