Artist Damien Hirst made headlines and lots of cash this week by auctioning off some of his bizarre artworks. Already he's sold a pickled tiger shark for $17 million, and a gold-crowned bull (I can't find an image of this one, but here's a similar work by the artist) for $18.6 million.
Call me stodgy and unimaginative, but I don't call this art. Embalming, definitely, or maybe -- stretching a definition a bit here -- creative taxidermy. But not art. Nor can I see paying millions for the privilege of parking a large dead critter in a tank of formaldehyde in the living room, but hey, I'm cheap that way.
It did make me wonder what my heirs might decide to auction off after I'm gone (one can only specify and control so much in a will.) I don't have a lot in the way of personal possessions, just my books, art, and quilts. Well, several decades of unpublished writing and terrible poetry, but I'm slowly destroying everything I don't want published posthumously, so 99% of that won't be around. I think my journals would only be of interest to my loved ones, but after seeing how Ted Hughes edited what the world saw of Sylvia Plath's, I might burn those, too.
If my kids don't want them, I'd like to my books to go to a public library, and my antique quilts to a museum. The art, eh. I can't see anyone paying a dime for my own paintings, but I have a very small collection of some nice pieces by other artists, including the original cover paintings for Shockball and Beyond Varallan. Art is personal, so I'd like those to stay in the family if possible. If not, then I'd like to see them auctioned off to benefit a public school arts program.
What would you like to see happen to your stuff after you're gone?