Tuesday, September 16, 2008

111 - The New Mark Of Damien

And that's as in "111" million pounds and "Damien" as in Hirst.

When his direct-to-customer, two day sale at Sotheby's ended yesterday, Hirst's works had sold for a a staggering total of 111 million pounds. That's not just a record for any single artist sale, it's ten-times the previous record set 15 years ago by a sale of Picasso's finest, who of course by this yardstick was merely 1/10th the artist ...

Iconic though Hirst's work may be, given how prolific he is and how susceptible to degradation works like The Dream (a pickled foal made to look like a unicorn, 2.3 m GBP) and The Kingdom (pickled tiger shark, a staggering 9.6 m GBP) are known to be then you have to wonder if this less an art investment and more like buying rare wines, commodities that can age badly or suffer bottle loss thereby rendering your investment both worthless and tasteless; thinking about it, history may yet judge these massive purchases as exhibiting both of those characteristics.

Oh, and spare a thought for the poor dealers. They just got cut out of the biggest pay-day the art market has ever known. Really, my heart bleeds for them, an image Hirst would most likely want to capture by ripping it from my chest and preserving it, aterial foam and all.

Financial crisis? What crisis? Not round the London art market, matey.

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