You Can’t Cut A Site-Specific Damien Hirst Out Of The Wall And Sell It

July 15, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Is a site-specific Damien Hirst wall painting still authentic if it’s removed, mounted on an aluminum backing board and framed? Hirst’s company Science Ltd says, nope.

Jess Simpson is “not really into Damien Hirst” or Bombay Mix, Damien Hirst’s early site-specific work which was painted on a wall of homeowner Jamie Ritblat in 1988 as a birthday present. Then, the house was resold to Simpson. Ritblat “should have should have been painted over when the previous owner traded the wall spot for a work on canvas,” but she didn’t. Nonetheless, Science Ltd says that the destruction was implied, and the work doesn’t belong to Simpson:

The ownership of a wall painting in the series titled Wall Spots always resides with the owner of the Wall Spots signed certificate, which accompanies the art work.

The certificate of authentication details how the site-specific work must be installed to be an authentic Hirst and when it ceases to be one. Simpson must either “return” the painting to Science Ltd for destruction or display it in its less-than-authentic state, but she can’t profit from it in anyway.

The funniest detail about this story is the naiveté of the homeowner who thought she could dismantle a site-specific work and haul it into an auction house to sell it without its certificate. Simpson isn’t only ignoring the bureaucracy of official sales of art works but seems daft on the entire concept of a site-specific work, even if it is, just those fucking spots again.

The funnier implication is on Banksy — the Damien Hirst of street art — whose works get chiseled out of cement walls and towed to auctions world-wide, having already been authenticated by appearing on his official website. The Banksy-peddling endeavor is replete with drama and scams. It is particularly embarrassing when political works such as the Palestine-specific Santa’s Ghetto was taken out of West Bank by Stephan Kezsler. Unlike Hirst’s Science Ltd, Banksy can’t block the sales, but he can make the potential buyers look like idiots and assholes. (Image: Artnet)