By Nate Freeman
The English artist Marc Quinn is staging what is certainly one of the more ambitious artworks devoted to the global migrant crisis. Next September at the New York Public Library’s main branch, he will install a work called Odyssey that will consist of two identical metric-ton blocks of frozen blood. One block will be made up of blood given by refugees, the other will be blood given by non-refugees, including celebrities such as Kate Moss, Jude Law, and Paul McCartney—and Quinn will not reveal, or even know himself, which block is which.
“The fundamental point of the sculpture is that under the skin, we’re all the same,” Quinn told The Guardian. “You will see two sculptures made from blood but you won’t know who they’re from.”
To source the blood, the artist is setting up labs around the world and has done his homework to make sure everything is 100 per cent up to legal and medical standards. Donors are able to give as much or as little blood as they want.
Quinn plans to tour the workaround Europe (including a stop in London), the Middle East, and Africa following its unveiling. Additionally, he aims on donating the money raised by selling the work—he hopes it will sell for between $10 million and $12 million—to organizations responding to the migrant crisis, he also hopes to raise $20 million through fundraising drives. Those who wish to have their own blood included in the project can sign up at a website set up for the work.
This is hardly Quinn’s first time working with blood. One of his best-known works, Self (1991–present) is a self-portrait sculpture of the artist’s head made from 10 pints of his own blood.