Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, 2007. 27 human teeth and 8601 diamonds embedded in cast platinum. Reported cost of materials: £13 million. Price: £50 million.
“Visiting the skull is a very different experience from reading about it. One is led in a small group up a narrow staircase, and into a pitch black room. One stumbles toward the skull, the only visible object, sitting in the center (one presumes) of the room, under a vertical spotlight, behind the glass of one of Hirst’s trademark vitrines, on a plinth which raises it up to nearly head height. Under the single point of light in the room, it glitters, sparkles, shines – no burns – with a ravishingly beautiful light, the piercing beams of the fiery reds, earthy yellows and icy blues of its diamonds twinkling like – to coin a phrase – the stars brought down to earth.”
“As we shuffle around in the dark, the only things we can find to say, in hushed tones, are the various media clichés we have already read, but these don’t really help us make sense of what we are – or are not – experiencing; as litanies, they seem more a ritual defense than anything else. Our allotted two minutes with the skull is quickly up (for there is a strict time limit to the viewing), and we are ushered out of the room by security guards, blinking, dazzled, and bemused.”
Luke White, “Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull and the Capitalist Sublime,” 2009