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Damien Hirst Faces Allegations of Backdating Thousands of Paintings

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British artist Damien Hirst faces allegations of backdating thousands of paintings in his NFT art project, ‘The Currency’. A recent investigation suggests that at least 1,000 of the 10,000 dot paintings were produced years later than the claimed date of 2016.

Launched in 2021, ‘The Currency’ featured 10,000 dot paintings where buyers had to choose between a physical painting or a corresponding NFT, with the unselected option being destroyed. Each painting was inscribed with the date 2016 and Hirst’s signature.

The project sold out quickly, generating nearly $90M and over 5,000 buyers chose physical paintings, while almost 4,000 selected NFTs, resulting in the destruction of its physical counterparts. In October 2022, Hirst and his team publicly burned almost half of the physical collection during an Instagram livestream.

Source: Damien Hirst

Art Community Divided Over Misdated Paintings

According to the investigation, supported by five anonymous sources involved in the creation process, claims that many of these dot paintings were actually produced in 2018 and 2019. These sources described the large-scale production effort, involving painters in Hirst’s studios in Gloucestershire and London, the “Henry Ford production line.”

In response to the allegations, Hirst’s lawyers stated that the dating of ‘The Currency’ paintings follows the artist’s usual practices and conceptual art conventions. They argue that the date refers to the project’s inception rather than the individual creation of each piece.

The art community is divided over these revelations and critics argue that misdating undermines the integrity of ‘The Currency’, while supporters believe it is consistent with Hirst’s artistic approach.

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