Damien Hirst's diamond skull

Damien Hirst's latest artwork is this life-size platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 fine diamonds. The sculpture, titled "For The Love of God," will likely sell for as much as $100 million, making it the priciest contemporary artwork ever made. White Cube gallery is selling several limited edition silkscreen prints of the work, priced from £900 to £10,000, for one sprinkled with diamond dust. The title of the piece comes from Hirst's mother who asked her son, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?” From the New York Times:
 Images 2007 05 29 Magazine 03Matter450.1 For Hirst, famous pickler of sharks and bovine bisector, all his art is about death. This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. “I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one – but just prohibitively expensive,” he recalls. “Then I started to think – maybe that’s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.”

Hirst, who financed the piece himself, watched for months as the price of international diamonds rose while the Bond Street gem dealer Bentley & Skinner tried to corner the market for the artist’s benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, “For the Love of God” now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.

“That’s when you stop laughing,” Hirst says. “You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.”
Link to NY Times, Link to White Cube



  1. no offense to the Damien guy, but to me a diamond-encrusted skull is no more attractive than a regular one.

  2. Hello David,

    Today we linked to your blog post, Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull, in our blog post, New Indiana Jones Movie Has a Name, Finally.

    Your blog, BoingBoing is very interesting. I particularly like two recent posts of yours:

    Your post about drug warning labels makes me wonder whether drug names and their labels are becoming too recognizable.
    It’s interesting that in today’s society, there would still be any problems with phone tapping and surveillance.

    Perhaps you’d find our blog of interest to your readers, and you may want to link back: http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/

    Thank you, David, and continued success with BoingBoing.

    PS… We recently published a post on the recognizability of certain drug names (http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/archives/2007/08/patients_asking.html) that may be of particular interest to you!

  3. Bentley & Skinner in London is a house of jewelers dealing in trivia and they know very little about anything. To think that they hunted down the melee needed for the diamond skull and to claim the purchase of a few hundred carats of diamond has changed the price of diamonds. – It is so dumb I feel sorry for the publicist who came up with this nonsense.

    Best regards from 47th Street, NYC.

  4. This should be titled “For The Love Of Money”. I’d really like to read some of his essays on his work because they seem conceptually weak. And empty, he’s a bit old for the generation of empty promises.

  5. Before I finally dropped out of RISD in my junior year out of disgust ( following david Byrne’s lead) I adopted the slogan “‘ Art is Dead” . it came from the realization that art is not art but rather a contest to see who can call the most mundane, nugatory and cultus creation “art ” and get away with it. If you blew your nose and set it on a pedestal with sombre lighting and strange music and proceeded to explain why your mucus represented modern man’s quest to find significance in a world tainted by materialism and shattered by tribalism based on the defense of modern religion, your snot was art.To read that Hirst’ s”centrigal art” sells for a quarter of a million dollars is proof once again. When i was 8, we paid a quarter to make “Spin-Art”® at the school fair. I wish I had saved them as they were far more visually intriguing than Hirst’s :blood wound, blah, blah , blah”. Then to see this’ Paris hiltonesque’ “thing” and hear critics rave over it’s depth once again makes me proud of the tattoo I have on my left ass cheek. “ART IS DEAD.”

  6. While you may think art is dead, you continue to talk and discuss it. It still impacts you and makes you contemplate different notions of what art can be or the judgment value of what art should be. It is easy to get fed up with banal or basic ideas that turn gobbledygook into an extremely successful and well received art piece. Complain all you like, but if you don’t have any stake in the art world, why would you care regardless? It’s much easier to hate what you cannot explain.

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