Thursday, May 6, 2010


The "style and spirit" sale held by Christie's (South Kensington, London) held on February 23, 2010 lived up to it's name. In a surprise result, an 1840s stuffed crocodile in a William IV period mahogany and glass cabinet on casters sold for $17,495.
Although this type of display may seem like a relic of the past, the concept has, in fact, been reinvented in today's world. No longer just an object of interest, stuffed or preserved animals have become "art objects". The most notable example of this are the pieces by controversial British artist Damien Hirst. Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living from 1991 depicting a preserved Tiger Shark in a glass case was sold to the hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen for $8 million and is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One can't help but believe that Hirst was influenced by 19th century displays of preserved animals. In turn, the enthusiasm surrounding Hirst's work has created new interest in the older natural history displays.

Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, Damien Hirst

1 comment:

The Blawgger said...

When I was in London, I had the fortune of taking a class at the Tate with one of the curators and we got to study the Turner Prize exhibitions. Hirst won for his dissected cow and calf and Mona Hatoum did a thing with an endoscope. It was an extraordinary exhibition that definitely piqued my interest in modern art. A few years ago, he had a small showing of paintings at a gallery in Beverly Hills and the work was simply stunning.