I couldn’t pass on this item in today’s Times. When theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn paid £27,000 for a painting he thought he was getting a genuine Damien Hirst. One night at the theatre he found out that he had bought a painting by two children aged 10 and two... or he did so according to Keith Allen’s autobiography Grow Up.
Artist Damien Hirst had been invited to the opening night of the Harold Pinter The Homecoming at the National Theatre in 1998(in which Allen played Teddy, a philosophy professor). According to Allen, “Trevor Nunn, who had studiously ignored me up to that moment, was over in a flash, congratulating me on a wonderful performance. He swivelled round to address Damien.
‘Ah, Damien, so good to meet you. I have one of your spin paintings’. “
‘Oh yeah? Which one?’
“The answer was something like ‘Squirly Hoops Touch My Nuts Peace and Love’. “
‘How much did you pay for it?’
‘Oh, er . . .’,
‘Go on, how much?’
‘Oh, right. Well that one was done by Keith’s son Alfie and my son Connor’.”
“Trevor smiled loosely and went off looking white, A funny joke, you say. The funny joke was that it was absolutely true.”
Hmm well it is a funny story even if it is utterly apocryphal. I suppose the moral of the story is that someone stupid enough to buy what Hirst produces (or his production line of assistants produce) deserves everything they get!