My name is Antsy Milliken. I’m an artist here in Britain. I studied at Goldsmith’s, worked behind the desk at Serpentine, helped Banksy spraying on the street a bit. I’ve been searching around for a way to produce some art that will get attention; it’s so hard nowadays with the diamond skulls and the balloon dogs and all the sex and money. . . but I’ve come up with the perfect artwork that combines process, message and the press, everything I learned at art school. I’ve decided to murder Damien Hirst.
By murdering Damien Hirst, I propose to create the most valuable artwork in the world, more valuable than the sharks, cows and golden calves Hirst himself sells for astronomical sums. That artwork will be the body of Damien Hirst, in all his glorious power, preserved in a vitrine. I think poison is probably the best way. . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.
After all, it wouldn’t do just to murder Damien Hirst. I, Antsy Milliken, also wish to gain all of the perquisites which have made Damien Hirst the world’s most expensively desired artist: notoriety, shock, sex appeal and money. Thus, it is not enough to approach the Russian oil billionaires such as Abramovitch and Pinchuk, who spend their millions on Hirst’s preservatives. So I have met with the chaps who created these plutocrats, who lust to destabilize any and all worlds (even the art world), and who, incidentally, provided the poison, that is, the fellows at the KGB.
Being secretive by nature, my KGB friends like the idea of displaying Hirst’s corpse, properly preserved in his signature vitrine, in a very private place near Red Square. "Then let Pinchuk and Abramovitch start the bidding!!" an agent joked (at least, I think it was a joke). In my more delirious moments, I can even contemplate Damien himself collaborating in the fun. "How can I not assist you in this greatest of all works, Antsy," Damien would say, "I have so many different kinds of pills in my own pharmacy that even your poison won’t surprise me!" On the other hand, Damien might just say, "Surprise me, Antsy." He’s all about surprises.
Well, now that I’ve spilled the beans about my plans to murder Damien Hirst and turn his body into an artwork, the offers will be pouring in: representation by Gagosian, an Aby Rosen dinner at Lever House, public relations by Nadine Johnson, a symposium at the Tate and a public coronation by Franceso Bonami. But, being the murderer, I’ll have to disappear, be anonymous -- like Banksy. And the Hirst work will disappear with me, into the den of that Russian billionaire. In a decade or two, the decadent art world will be ready for Hirst’s public tour, and, with the application of some tax advantages, for purchase by a major museum, perhaps the Louvre or the Metropolitan.
I’ll have moved on to trying my hand at even more shocking works of art, and you’ll all know me, of course, Antsy Milliken, the world’s greatest artist, who surpassed Mr. Hirst himself in the power to shock. It’s PSYCHEDELIC!
(This parody is inspired by Leon Wieseltier’s “Golden Bull” from the New Republic.)
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).