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George and Kenny and U.K. Art Envy

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The British art world is incredibly envious of Kenny Goss and George Michael's $200-million collection, which features the work of more than 30 British artists -- among them, says here, Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas, Bridget Riley, Gary Hume and others. The couple also owns one of the largest collections of works by Damien Hirst, best known for selling at record prices dead animals dipped in formaldehyde. Reported the U.K.'s Art Newspaper earlier this summer, the couple "recently purchased the artist’s Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, a vitrine of a bullock pierced with arrows and preserved in formaldehyde, from White Cube in London."

Today, Gareth Harris, deputy editor of The Art Newspaper, writes in the British Arts & Book Review that Goss and Michael have assembled "a collection that cash-strapped British institutions such as the Tate could only dream of assembling in such a short time." As for the purchase of the Hirst's Saint Sebastian, Goss tells Harris, "Art is about our experiences in life. Everything we buy has a personal resonance. Saint Sebastian was a gay martyr. This work is almost autobiographical for George." To which Harris responds: "Vanity or philanthropy? The jury is still out." --Robert Wilonsky

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