Home » British artist Damian Hirst just burned 1,000 of his paintings and will burn thousands more soon

British artist Damian Hirst just burned 1,000 of his paintings and will burn thousands more soon

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British artist Damian Hirst just burned 1,000 of his paintings and will burn thousands more soon

Damian Hirst just burned 1,000 of his paintings and will burn thousands more soon. British artist Damian Hirst was among a number of art world giants who burned 1,000 of his own works on Tuesday. He live-streamed the event on Instagram and is set to burn thousands more works of art.

This is part of his project “Currency”. It consists of 10,000 NFTs. Each unforgeable token corresponds to a physical painting with his signature polychromatic dots, made from enamel paint on handmade paper. The pieces were originally sold for $2,000, which is affordable compared to what Hirst’s works are known for.

“A lot of people think I’m burning millions of dollars of art, but I’m not, I’m doing the conversion to NFTs by burning physical versions,” Hurst wrote in a caption on Instagram. “The digital or physical value of art, which is hard to define at the best of times, is not lost, it is transferred to NFTs once they are burned.”

A year after purchasing a piece of “Currency”, collectors have to make a choice. They either accept the painting, which means they will lose the NFT, or hold the NFT, which means the painting will be burned.

Caroline Goldstein of Artnet News commented: “‘The Currency’ pits Hirst against his old-school approach in the new realm of digital art, asking the art market to decide which is more valuable”.

The buyers’ decision was evenly divided, with 5,149 choosing to trade their NFT for the original painting and 4,851 choosing the NFT. The works are on display at London’s Newport Street Gallery and will be burnt during Frieze, London’s art fair, which runs from 12 to 16 October.

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An NFT is a digital identifier used to confirm the authenticity and ownership of tangible or digital items. It’s like a receipt, and its uniqueness makes it valuable.

In the contemporary art market, art is traded like an asset and seen as a financial tool, filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn said in 2018. NFTs are a new type of asset that can be commoditized, but the energy required to create them also makes them notorious for their environmental impact.

Many of the comments on Hirst’s Instagram post about the burning work were criticism. “It’s all about the money anyway,” one user wrote. “Interesting strategy to minimise the carbon footprint for this collection,” wrote another.

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