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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Physical Impossibility of Formaldehyde in the Galleries of an Institution Striving

Can this actually be true? Has Larry Gagosian really brokered a deal to bring Damien Hirst's famously pickled shark to MoMA?

Surely this donation can't be anything other than a stupendously expensive, $12M tweak of Sir Nicholas Serota's nose.

If that is what it is, things should get really interesting from here. A tit-for-tat Tate responses would ensure that the Judith Rothschild Foundation drawing collection will now end up at Tate Modern.

That's not such a bad trade-off, though. Given the choice, I would much prefer Damien's shark to Harvey's cache of many mediocre works on paper.

But the whole thing makes me wonder. Why would MoMA even let itself get involved in playing this game? Doesn't the organization have enough to worry about these days just keeping the doors open, making the admission numbers, and ensuring that the art isn't damaged?

Related: Felix Salmon on the shark.

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