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Friday Photo: Worshiping Damien Hirst’s Golden Calf

In a pioneering move akin to a novel spin on a hugely lucrative greatest hits album, artist Damien Hirst has created a body of work specifically to be sold at auction—more specifically, at Sotheby’s in London on September 15-16. “It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art,” says Hirst. In three sales over two days, the “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” auction will include 223 lots that Sotheby’s estimates will bring in approximately £65 million ($128 million at current exchange rates). New versions of all of your Hirstian favorites will be up for sale: butterfly paintings, spin art, skulls, spot paintings, pills, anatomical sculptures, and of course, dead animals preserved in formaldehyde-filled vitrines! One such monumental sculpture is the centerpiece of the show and the subject of this week’s Friday Photo.

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Photo: Sotheby’s

Standing 13 feet tall and nearly 12 feet wide, “The Golden Calf” (2008) suspends an 18-month-old, golden headpiece-wearing calf in a silicone and formaldehyde brew-filled tank plated in 18 karat gold and set atop a Carrara marble plinth. “It indicates the idloatry of man to false idols, man’s impatience, brazen imagery, but also, it draws you in because the beast himself is…so incredibly beautiful,” says Sotheby’s Oliver Barker of the Biblical allusion gone pop. “The scale of the object, the sheer ambition, is so typical of what Damien does, but yet again, he’s really suprised us. This is definitely the outstanding highlight of the exhibition.” The lot, lucky number 13, is estimated to sell for between £8 million and £12 million (about $16 million-$24 million). Click “continued” for a frontal view.


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