July 27, 2022, was the last day of Damien Hirst’s project, The Currency, consisting of 10,000 works on paper. Each of them is a unique composition of multi-colored dots.
Last summer, the artist decided to tokenize some of the works created since 2016 and offered those who wish to buy either an NFT copy (in this case, the physical original must be destroyed), or the original itself (then the corresponding token is “burned”).
The artist spoke about the gained experience in an interview for the New York Times as follows: “There are thousands of people on the Internet who constantly talk about The Currency project. Works are sold: prices go up and down; their value goes up and down. It is like a sect that I am the leader of.”
Over the past 24 hours, over 4,000 people decided to exchange their tokens for physical works of art, and about 6,000 people decided to keep NFTs. As of January this year, the project’s revenue was estimated at $25 million. Hirst intends to start burning unsold originals this fall.
In recent years, Hirst has established himself as Andy Warhol’s greatest heir. One of the famous sayings of the artist: “You need to become a celebrity to prove to people that celebrities and ordinary people are the same”
Hirst’s work constitutes the largest private art collection in the UK after the Queen’s collection. In 2015 Damien opened the Newport Street Gallery for £25 million in a generous act. Since then he has exhibited and curated exhibitions by artists such as Jeff Koons, Gavin Turk, John Hoyland, John Bellany and Alan Davey. Most of the work in the gallery belongs to Hirst.
To the eternal question “But is it art?” Hirst always answers with a smile: “Of course, art. It’s in an art gallery, after all.”