“I have a really good business manager,” said Damien Hirst. “He told me a long time ago ‘You’d better make sure that you’re using the money to chase your art ideas rather than the art to chase your money ideas.’ Which is a very important thing to never forget.”
That is sound advice coming from Mr. Hirst, 44, the “most prominent member of the group known as Young British Artists” Mr. Hirst, with the help of his business manager, has become a multi-millionaire. The “art” upon which Mr. Hirst has built this fortune includes “pickled sharks, the corpse of a cow suspended from a rope, its entrails lying beneath it alongside banknotes, and the severed head of a cow covered in live, buzzing flies.” The dominant theme of his body of work (pun intended) is death.
So it is particularly sweet that Mr. Hirst has teamed with one of his biggest collectors, Victor Pinchuk, to fund a new neonatal center in Kiev, Ukraine, “Cradles of Hope.” Mr. Hirst donated $320,000 to the Victor Pinchuk Foundation for the purchase of 60 pieces of equipment used to treat babies born with extremely low birth weight. The money came from the sale in February 2009 of a painting called “Dark Days.”
The Victor Pinchuk Foundation was established in 2006 by Ukrainian billionaire industrialist Victor Pinchuk. The goal of the foundation “is to contribute to the modernization of Ukraine and to bringing up a new generation of Ukrainian leaders who are committed to serving the country.” The Foundation has six ambitious fields of focus: Health, Education, Culture, Human Rights, Ukrainian Economy, Local Community.
Damien Hirst says crisis will stimulate artists [Reuters; April 24, 2009]
Hirst Teams with Pinchuk to Fund Ukrainian Neonatal Center [ARTINFO; April 24, 2009]
Damien Hirst [Wikipedia]
Viktor Pinchuk [Wikipedia]