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Just like butterfly wings



The control of galleries over artists is as fragile as butterfly wings.

Whether you like his work or not, Damien Hirst and Sotheby's are proving that it is possible to sell big-ticket art direct to the buyer, disintermediating gallery dealers across the globe who've traditionally controlled the action. The Dow might be down, but the prices for Hirst's art are up, proving skeptics like perennial downer Carol Vogel and many in the financial community wrong.

Beautiful Inside My Head Forever
is in mid-stream as I write this and everything is selling, most at or above the minimums. The cover lot, The Golden Calf, sold for 9,200,00. On a day when the banks are collapsing and a SuperCollider is supposedly threatening our very existence, it certainly seems that someone out there must certainly have a bunch of cash.
"The galleries have convinced everyone not to bid," Hirst said last month, recounting the dream while overseeing the installation of "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," his one-artist, two-day auction that begins Monday night. "It's risky I know," he added. "But it's too late to worry about it now.

"Even if the sale bombs I'm opening a new door for artists everywhere," Hirst said. Although few artists are capable of producing enough work to hold a one-man sale, his effort could inspire others to consign even one piece to an auction house rather than to a dealer. "If you're going to do it," Hirst added. "Do it big. It's nice not to play safe."


I find his art a bit shocking ... certainly disturbing at times. The little pig made Katja cry, and there is something a bit strange about a full-size zebra in a tank of formaldehyde. That said, the butterfly wing rose windows are very impressive, once you get past the idea that they sure did have to "find" a whole bunch of various red and iridescent blue butterfly wings to do it.

Here are some links that I was browsing leading up to the sale:

Damien Hirst goes for broke at Sotheby's
Carol Vogel: Damien Hirst has a recurring nightmare. His big auction here is about to begin and the Sotheby's salesroom is overflowing with collectors and dealers. Oliver Barker, the auctioneer, opens the bidding on 223 works that Hirst has produced over the past two years. Suddenly the place goes quiet. Not a paddle is raised.

Will Sotheby's show be a nightmare for Hirst?
Damien Hirst, whose auction of 200-plus artworks starts at Sotheby's, London this evening, has disclosed that he has suffered a recurring nightmare in recent weeks: the auctioneer declares that the bidding is underway but nobody raises their hand to bid. "The galleries have convinced everyone not to bid," Hirst says explaining the dream. "It's risky I know. But it's too late to worry about it now."

I have to admit it: I was wrong about Hirst
Acclaimed Observer critic Peter Conrad used to think Damien Hirst was a greedy, cynical, overpaid show-off. But on the eve of a 60m auction of the artist's work, he toured the Sotheby's galleries and became a convert to Hirst's wit and ingenuity in wrestling with notions of mortality and death.

Sotheby's shares hit by jitters over Hirst auction
Sotheby's shares suffered a second day of declines amid fears that its pioneering auction of new works by Damien Hirst, estimated to sell for 65m, will be a flop.

Why I was banned from Damien Hirst's 120m gamble
Ben Lewis: For the past two weeks Damien Hirst has been telling news crews and reporters that his auction, which begins tonight, is a way to democratise the art market. Yet far from being a new dawn in democracy, the historic Hirst sale is the most stage-managed auction ever.

Damien Hirst seeks art market revolution
AFP: British artist Damien Hirst, who broke the mould by putting sharks in formaldehyde, has turned his attention to revolutionising the art market by selling his work direct at auction.

It will be interesting to see what they all have to say when this seemingly successful sale wraps up tomorrow.*

* Note: A technical glitch prevented me from posting this on Monday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008   permalink to archived copy   del.icio.us   DiggIt  

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