(chapter 4 expanded; there may be more for this chapter. I must consider the outline...)
The artist mentioned in Chapter 4 is real, and he really did make a sculpture out of his own blood. Under mysterious circumstances, it (may?) have melted.
You can read about the "accident" here. I must admit I share Tall dark and handsome's dislike for Marc Quinn's art. The art community, naturally, thinks he is a genius. To each their own.
You know that paragraph of legalese that appears in movie credits and copywrite pages that goes something like, "all the people in this work are entirely fictitious and references to persons living or dead are entirely coincidental"? Yeah, that's always bull.