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Damien Hirst is planning to burn thousands of his paintings in a project called “The Currency”.
The artist will destroy the pieces at his Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, London next month.
Hirst, 57, made 10,000 unique dot paintings in 2016, that were each linked to corresponding NFTs and sold for $2,000 (£1,663) each.
Buyers could choose to either keep the NFTs or swap them in for the physical artwork. They were told: “The collector cannot keep both. This exchange is a one-way process, so choose carefully.”
At the time of writing, more than 4,000 people have chosen to swap their NFT for a physical artwork. They have just one day left to decide before the deadline at 3pm on Wednesday (27 July).
The remaining physical paintings, which people have not opted for, will be destroyed daily from 9 September.
Hirst previously told The Art Newspaper that his project “touches on the idea of art as a currency and a store of wealth”.
He said: “This project explores the boundaries of art and currency – when art changes and becomes a currency, and when currency becomes art. It’s not a coincidence that governments use art on coins and notes. They do this to help us believe in money. Without art, it’s hard for us to believe in anything.”
Many social media users were unimpressed with the concept.
One called it “pretentious”, while another added: “Charity donation from selling them too square?”
Hirst is believed to be the UK’s richest living artist, with an estimated wealth of $384m (£288m) according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020.