Rhea Myers

Value In The Work

Damien Hirst’s diamond skull “For The Love Of God”, 2007, is owned fractionally by Hirst, his dealer and an anonymous investment group. As the monetary value of the work rises and falls, the value of the fraction of it owned by each investor in the work will rise and fall with it. Their values have proportion and relations.

It’s possible to imagine short selling, leveraging and other financial abstractions and transformations being applied to this value. The fact of their application might affect the monetary value of the work. And the monetary value of the work is in no small way part of the work aesthetically. The economics of the work reach into its aesthetics.

Ashley Bickerton’s “Le Art (Composition with Logos 2)”, 1987, is covered with a number of corporate logos. The recognizability and relevance of the logos is part of the aesthetics of the work. The work will change as the fortunes of the companies or their logos vary.

With both Hirst’s work and Bickerton’s there is still a physical artwork as the ground for the financial figures of the aesthetics of the piece. As with relational art, a more thorough dematerialization of the artwork (a greater primacy for its gross ideological rather than aesthetic principles) might require a greater physicality. Rather than a work of pure economic figures, the ground of a flea market (or its haute couture equivalent, an auction house) might be required.