Following last week’s announcement by the Guggenheim in New York that it would be removing three works from its exhibition Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World (see “Three Works Withdrawn from an Exhibition at the Guggenheim”), you’d think that anyone exhibiting works featuring live animals would be treading very carefully. And indeed, this week Christie’s London is handling the preview of Love Lost (1999) by Damien Hirst for its sale of post-war and contemporary art on 6 October with kid gloves. “Please note that the installation of this artwork has been undertaken with the assistance of aquatic experts to ensure the correct handling of the fish”, reads its announcement about the work.
Love Lost is in fact an aquarium measuring 9x7x7 feet. In addition to freshwater fish, it contains gravel, a gynaecologist’s seat, a stainless steel table, a computer, a stool and several desktop objects. It is expected to sell for a sum approaching £2 million but is just one star item in a sale featuring top names. As Christie’s announced recently, the sale will include Francis Bacon’s Study of Red Pope 1962. 2nd version 1971, which has not been seen in public since 1971. Considering the recent success of Bacon’s works at auction (see “Francis Bacon, Star of the Autumn Sales”), this painting will no doubt go for a stratospheric price, perhaps as much as £60 million.
And so that Hirst and Bacon don’t get all the glory, Red Skull (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat will also be up for sale, following the surprising $110 million paid for the artist’s Untitled painting of a skull in May (see “Basquiat Hits Record High at Christie’s and Sotheby’s”).