A sculpture by Damien Hirst was the subject of a different kind of spectacle last month, after a woman drove her Rolls-Royce sedan onto the property of its owners.
According to a police report, on March 31 a 66-year-old woman drove her blue and gray luxury car through a driveway on Canterbury Lane, hit a curb, kept driving, and hit a “coral art sculpture”. It then drove through a landscape fence and onto the beach.
That sculpture was Hirst’s 2017 work Sphinx, which intended to conjure the impression of a 2,000-year-old art and artifacts recovered from a shipwreck adorned with the barnacles, patination, and coral growth. The work was displayed at the Venice Biennale in 2017 as part of the artist’s exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable“. (The show was located in collector François Pinault’s palatial spaces, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana.) It was a generally panned presentation, with ARTnews reviewing it as disastrous and “one of the worst exhibitions of contemporary art staged in the past decade”.
Online property records show the Canterbury Lane home in Palm Beach belongs to Top 200 collectors—and controversial art world figures—Steven and Lisa Tananbaum. The five bedroom, eight bathroom estate on 1.36 acres was purchased for $26.4 million in 2011 from the family of the Canadian media magnate Izzy Asper. It is now valued at $50.8 million.
Photos from the Palm Beach police appear to show the Hirst sculpture knocked off its pedestal and lacking many of the bright colors from the original exhibition. Lisa Tananbaum told police the value of the sculpture was approximately $3 million, but “she would need an expert to assess the damage further.”
The Tananbaums are no strangers to litigating for their art. In early 2020, Steven Tananbaum and Gagosian reached a settlement over a lawsuit filed by the hedge fund manager against the mega-gallery over the alleged non-delivery of three Jeff Koons sculptures. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and all claims and counterclaims were dismissed.
The crash was first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.