Check In Kiev

Artforum reports today that The Art Newspaper reported Tuesday that the Washington Post reported that Ukrainian mogul/collector Viktor Pinchuk is the "fourth stakeholder" in the made-up "sale" of Damien Hirst's £50 million diamond skull.

What no one reports, though, is that the Post published this claim over a month ago in a feature story by Their Man in Ukraine, John Pancake, about a Pinchuk-backed Hirst "retrospective" in Kiev. Pancake did not make any characterization of his source, treating it as a passing fact. [The only Pinchuk-related source Pancake's piece is Pinchuk Art Center director Eckhard Schneider, whose appointment was announced last fall in a press conference where the collector also admitted he was a repeat buyer at Hirst's landmark Sotheby's auction.]

I won't speculate why it took the art world press more than a month to find out about an art story in the Washington Post. As for the reported sale of the skull "to a group of investors" in 2007, though, it would be nice if anyone could report what actually happened: that the "investors" who supposedly bought the Hirst from Hirst, his manager, and his dealer, were Hirst, his manager, and his dealer.

The involvement of an outsider, even as a minority "investor" whose percentage of ownership is then used, venture capital-style, to calculate the valuation of the venture. But with dozens or more transactions, charity auctions, and exhibitions between Pinchuck and Hirst, Pinchuk's would hardly be considered an arms-length transaction.

And so the skull's sole conceptual triumph--as a manipulative value distortion field which renders art and pop journalists powerless--continues.

Previously: Damien Hirst skull how-to photos
Also: No way that thing cost $20 million to make

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

post info

first published: June 11, 2009.

next older post:
Wait, What? Mrs Jeff Lubin Closed Mrs John L. Strong?

next newer post:
An Open Letter To Bootleggers Of Video Quartet

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99