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Task Sheet ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART TASK SHEET # 12/MODULE: WEEK 12 : MONEY STILL MAKES THE ART WORLD GO AROUND DUE DATE :

Task Sheet

ART/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
TASK SHEET # 12/MODULE: WEEK 12 :

MONEY STILL MAKES THE ART WORLD GO AROUND
DUE DATE : Monday April 15, by 9:00 pm! Please submit in Canvas, “Assignments,” only!

 This task sheet has 3 PARTS (I, II, and III). You must complete ALL 3 parts for credit!
 ONLY submit Task Sheets that are complete and based on the assigned readings. Paraphrase!: )

READINGS [ALL READINGS CAN BE ACCESSED VIA MODULE: WEEK 12]
• Linda Weintraub (et al.): “Jeff Koons: Honesty”
• Artnet News: “Turns Out the Diamond Skull That Damien Hirst and White Cube Said They

Sold for $100 Million in 2007 Still Belongs to Them” (January, 2022):

• Jonathan Edwards: “Banksy tried to destroy his art after it sold for $1.4 million. The shredded
version just went for $25.4 million,” in: Washington Post (October 2021):

INTRODUCTION: MONEY STILL MAKES THE ART WORLD GO AROUND
David Rubenstein’s passionate David Rockefeller Lecture on Arts and Business (2016) highlights the
continuing need for funding of the arts, in particular through corporate and private sponsorship.
On the one hand, during the recession and recent pandemic, many smaller art venues, especially created
in the spirit of more diversity in the art world, have experienced under-funding or were forced to close
their doors. On the other hand, a small group of white, male artists have been hyped and celebrated,
disavowing the Guerrilla Girls’ and other activist artists’ hope for true change in the art world.
All three artists discussed in this task sheet have been considered “Bad Boys” of the art world at their
respective career high for: being brazenly self-centered and money-driven (Koons), utilizing dead
animals and other controversial media (Hirst), illegally placing artwork with bold messages (Banksy).
However, all three artists have managed to cleverly hype and market their edgy art, including devising
publicity producing stunts that left the art world stunned and further hiked up prices for their artworks,
confirming that art is (still) a commodity and that money (still) makes the art world go around.

INTRO TO PART I: JEFF KOONS: CLEVER BUSINESSMAN OR CRITIC OF THE ART WORLD?
Jeff Koons (b. 1955) is “an American artist recognized for his work dealing with popular culture and
his sculptures depicting everyday objects, including balloon animals produced in stainless steel with
mirror-finish surfaces. […] His works have sold for substantial sums, including at least two record
auction prices for a work by a living artist: US$58.4 million for Balloon Dog (Orange) in 2013
and US$91.1 million for Rabbit in 2019. Critics come sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some
view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch,
crass, and based on cynical self-merchandising. [Wikipedia:

YOUR TASKS FOR PART I
Read: Linda Weintraub (et al.): “Jeff Koons: Honesty”
1) List and briefly explain each of Koon’s 6 Tenets outlined in Weintraub’s text.
2) Please explain in 4-8 sentences using an example from the text:
How is Koons’ artwork connected to popular taste and how is it designed to appeal to a mass audience?
3) Koons states that “Fine Art is a commercial enterprise,” and hat “price determines desire and merit,”
countering the general assumption that skill and merit should determine the price of an artwork.
Based on the text, do you think Koons is a clever businessman or a keen critic of the art world?

INTRO TO PART II : DAMIEN HIRST: ARE DIAMONDS AN ARTIST’S BEST FRIEND?
Damien Hirst (b. 1965) is a British artist and art collector. He is one of the so called Young British
Artists who dominated the United Kingdom’s art scene in the 1990s. He used to be closely connected
to collector Charles Saatchi. Hirst became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals
(including a tiger shark, a sheep, and a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde in a display case, some
dissected.
The artwork discussed in Art News [see below] is titled For the Love of God (2007). It consists of a
recreated 18th century human skull made of platinum and adorned with 8,601 diamonds.
Approximately £15,000,000 worth of diamonds were used, as well as the original human teeth. The
asking price for For the Love of God was c. $100 million US dollars. As it did not sell right away, a
consortium that includes Hirst and his gallery, White Cube, bought the piece in 2008.
Hirst is reportedly the UK’s richest living artist with his wealth estimated at US$384 million in 2020.
[Source for all information above: Wikipedia:

YOUR TASKS FOR PART II
Read: Artnet News: “Turns Out the Diamond Skull That Damien Hirst and White Cube Said They

Sold for $100 Million in 2007 Still Belongs to Them” (January, 2022):

Please answer the questions below in c. 4-6 sentences EACH:
1) Summarize the issues surrounding the sale and value of Hirst’s For the Love of God, outlined in
the Art News article assigned.
2) Explain why Hirst may have chosen to deceive the art world about the sale and value of this piece.
3) Please reflect on Hirst’s quote defending himself regarding his art and money: “People always worry
that money somehow tarnishes art, but I always thought it was disgusting that people like Van Gogh
never made any money. It’s important to make sure that the art takes precedence over the money.”

INTRO TO PART III: BANKSY: “WILD CHILD” OR “SELL OUT”?
Acclaimed British [Bristol-born] artist and political activist, publicly known as Banksy, rose to fame in
the 1990s with his now iconic stenciling technique, strategically placed, in order to create powerful
artworks that respond to current societal and political issues. Banksy, who combines dark political
humor and satirical wit, has described graffiti and street art as a form of underclass “revenge” that
grants an individual the ability to take the power back from the privileged, as for generations, “real” art
was something only accessible to the elite. However, in 2018, at the end of a bidding war at Sotheby’s
for one of Banksy’s most iconic works, a silhouetted girl reaching for a heart-shaped balloon floating
away, the work on canvas was shredded in front of stunned onlookers. The semi-shredded work was
subsequently sold for $25.4 million instead of the original $1.4 million, re-titled Love is in the Bin.

YOUR TASKS FOR PART III
Read: Jonathan Edwards: “Banksy tried to destroy his art after it sold for $1.4 million. The shredded

version just went for $25.4 million,” in: Washington Post (October 2021):

Please explain your reflections on Edwards’ text and opinion in a paragraph of c. 8-10 sentences:
With the stunt described above, Banksy simultaneously mocked the money-hungry art world and raised
the price for his artwork by 24 million dollars. Did he expose and undermine the commodification of
art in this stunt or has he “sold out” to the art elite he has been critical of?

  • Art/ARTH/BUS 334: THE BUSINESS OF ART
  • TASK SHEET #12/MODULE: WEEK 12:
  • MONEY STILL MAKES THE ART WORLD GO AROUND
  • INTRODUCTION: money still makes the art world go around
  • INTRO TO PART I: Jeff Koons: clever businessman or critic of the art world?
    • INTRO TO PART III: BANKSY: “WILD CHILD” OR “SELL OUT”?

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