Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blood Head Sculpture Acquired By The National Portrait Gallery

Self, Marc Quinn (2006)

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Most museums that hold precious art in their premises protect their art by maintaining a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in their halls. In the National Portrait Gallery in London, a colder climate is needed for its newest acquisition, a work known to be one of the most important works of the BritArt era.

The National Portrait Gallery has purchased a newly minted version of Marc Quinn’s Self sculpture; the artwork is the fourth reproduction of the British artist’s head made out of nine pints of his own frozen blood. Three previous versions of the art piece sit in private collections yet this one was acquired by the gallery in order to show to the public.

The Art Fund, a charity in the UK that is devoted to collecting important works for public collections contributed £100,000 to the £300,000 ($500,000) cost of the sculpture. It was already an arranged discounted price since the work was intended for the museum. The remainder of the funds used to purchase the blood head sculpture came from other nonprofit organizations.

The National Blood Service in the UK recommends that there should be a 16 week waiting period in between blood donations. If Quinn follows the necessary protocol, it takes him almost three years to collect the necessary amount of blood to make another version of the sculpture. If Quinn aspires to create another version, the next sculpture will be available for sale in 2011.

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