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Boom amid the bust: 10 years in a turbulent art market | Financial Times
July 27, 2018 | FT| by Georgina Adam.
September 15 2008, the date of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, was also the first day of a spectacular gamble by artist Damien Hirst, who consigned 223 new works to Sotheby’s, bypassing his powerful dealers and saving millions by cutting out their commissions........The two-day London auction raised a (stunning) total of £111m.......o the outside world, though, the Hirst auction seemed to indicate that despite the global financial turmoil, the market for high-end art was bulletproof....in the wake of the Hirst sale, the art market took a severe dive.... sales plunging about 41% by 2009, compared with a market peak of almost $66bn in 2007. Contemporary art was particularly badly hit, with sales in that category plunging almost 60 % over 2008-09. Yet to the surprise, even astonishment, of some observers, the art market soon started a rapid return to rude health...the make-up of the market has changed. The mid-level — works selling between $50,000 and $1m — has been sluggish, and a large number of medium-sized and smaller galleries have been shuttered in the past two years. However, the high-performing top end has exploded, fuelled by billionaires duelling to acquire trophy works by a few “brand name” artists....A major influence on the market has been Asia....What has changed in the past 10 yrs. is what Chinese collectors are buying. Initially Chinese works of art — scroll paintings, furniture, ceramics — represented the bulk of the market. However, there has been a rapid and sudden shift to international modern and contemporary art, as shown by Liu and other buyers, who have snapped up works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso — recognisable “brand names” that auction houses have been assiduously promoting......Further fuelling the high end has been the phenomenon of private museums, the playthings of billionaires....In the past decade and even more so in the past five years, a major stimulus, mainly for the high end, has been the financialization of the market. Investment in art and art-secured lending are now big business....In addition, a new layer of complexity is added with “fractional ownership” — currently touted by a multitude of online start-ups. Often using their own cryptocurrencies, companies such as Maecenas, Feral Horses, Fimart or Tend Swiss offer the small investor the chance to buy a small part of an expensive work of art, and trade in it.....A final aspect of the changes in the market in the past decade, and in my opinion a very significant one, is the blurring of the art, luxury goods and entertainment sectors — and this brings us right back to Damien Hirst....Commissions are probably also lucrative. E.g. a Hirst-designed bar called Unknown was unveiled recently in Las Vegas’s Palms Casino Resort. It is dominated by a shark chopped into three and displayed in formaldehyde tanks, and surrounded by Hirst’s signature spot paintings. Elsewhere, Hirst’s huge Sun Disc sculpture, bought from the Venice show, is displayed in the High Limit Gaming Lounge. ...So Hirst neatly bookends the decade, whether you consider him an artist — or a purveyor of entertainment and luxury goods.
art  artists  art_finance  art_market  auctions  contemporary_art  crypto-currencies  Christie's  dealerships  entertainment  fees_&_commissions  fractional_ownership  high-end  luxury  moguls  museums  paintings  Sotheby's  tokenization  turbulence  Damien_Hirst  top-tier 
july 2018 by jerryking
The Capsizing of Damien Hirst | Will Harrison
Profile of Hirst, framed as a story of decline, with his new exhibit positioned as a kind of last gasp at relevance (and profitability). Maybe excessively dismissive. Makes some interesting points about his participation in gentrification, and more generally about the contemporary art market as a not merely a reflection, but a positive cause, of economic inequality.
damien_hirst  art  artists  art_shows  economics  finance 
april 2017 by johnmfrench
Damien Hirst Is Back With an Underwater Fantasy. Will Collectors Care? - The New York Times
Sort of a preview/profile of Damien Hirst, on the occasion of his newest exhibition, "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable." Takes him more seriously than some, but does manage to point out the extent to which his work is treated by himself as well as his buyers as a product first and foremost.
damien_hirst  art  artists  art_shows 
april 2017 by johnmfrench
Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable review – beautiful and monstrous | Art and design | The Guardian
Review of Damien Hirst's first exhibition in over a decade. Reviewer seems quite taken with the spectacle of it, but doesn't convince me that there's much going on beyond that.
damien_hirst  art  artists  art_shows 
april 2017 by johnmfrench
ArtAsiaPacific: Entomology Cabinets And Paintings Scalpel Blade Paintings And Colour Charts Damien Hirst
After more than 60 years of painters making abstractions based on found imagery (including color charts, most famously by Gerhard Richter), what is infuriating is the pretense that Damien Hirst’s versions are at all innovative or expansive about the notion or idea of art. In fact, he is the one who is stuck on a certain idea of art that he then believes—quite wrongly—he is transgressing. Taking an object from the real world and turning it into art is an idea more than 100 years old, and there is a very well-known term for what Duchamp did first. So while Hirst appears to believe his works confront taboo topics and the weighty, unmentionable subjects such as death, the inevitability he seems to be avoiding is called “the readymade.”

This not a universe of one—and countless other artists in the last century (and arguably almost every artist working today, beginning at university age) have addressed this notion, both out of necessity and with genuine consideration. In that regard, Hirst is absolutely wrong about what the fundamental questions are. Hirst is right about one thing, however, which is that the simple world does not exist. Not in London, not in Hong Kong and not in art. Why then are his artworks so undemanding and thus so utterly unrewarding to any viewer with even a slight conception of the world’s complexity?
Damien_Hirst  contemporary_art 
may 2013 by chrisrusak
Damien Hirst: Jumping the Shark - Businessweek
“Collectors have to learn to buy art with their eyes,” Mugrabi says, “not their ears.” An olive-skinned international bon vivant, he’s sitting in his Park Avenue office—a Warhol Blue Jackie sits propped against the wall behind his desk—and showing off a desktop picture on his computer screen: four Hirst sharks, suspended in adjoining tanks. “What’s more amazing than that?” he asks.

When asked what the piece is called, Mugrabi shuffles some papers, racks his brain, but the name won’t come to him. Finally, he yells to his secretary in an adjoining room: “Liz, what’s the name of the shark?”

“Theology, Philosophy, Medicine, Justice,” she shouts back.

...

Pricing fine art might seem like a preoccupation of the wealthy few, but it’s of interest to economists, who see it as a way to test fundamental questions about value. As Mugrabi points out, the market behaves in unusual ways: Demand for an artist’s work tends to rise as prices do, because the more expensive it becomes, the more status it confers. And while value is usually a function of scarcity, the opposite can be true for artists—some great ones, like Warhol and Picasso, left behind a prolific body of work. The most unpredictable thing about art’s valuation, though, is that it’s entirely in the eye of the beholder.
Damien_Hirst  art_market  art_criticism 
may 2013 by chrisrusak
Is Modern Finance Ruining Modern Art? (Part 2): Mark C. Taylor - Bloomberg
"There are, predictably, some critics who argue that Hirst, like Jeff Koons, is, in fact, satirizing or criticizing the market from which he nonetheless profits so handsomely. While this argument is plausible in the case of Warhol, the art of Koons and Hirst, like the critics who promote it, has lost its critical edge."
Jeff_Koons  financial_markets  art_investment  derivatives  Damien_Hirst  Andy_Warhol 
february 2013 by chrisrusak
Damien Hirst: Jumping the Shark - Businessweek
Bloomberg piece on the market for Damien Hirst's art— it's rise, apparent collapse (relatively speaking), and how his own actions have affected it (including, literally, factory production and a massive direct auction in 2008 of over 200 pieces).
art  artists  damien_hirst  markets 
november 2012 by johnmfrench
Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer – review | Art and design | The Guardian
"The last time I saw paintings as deluded as Damien Hirst's latest works, the artist's name was Saif al-Islam Gaddafi." ....And it goes downhill from there.
review  art  damien_hirst 
may 2012 by niksilver
Hirst provides study in art of business - FT.com
He said Mr Hirst had shown the same business acumen in recent months, when he announced that he would stop producing his highly lucrative spot, spin and butterfly paintings. “There was a danger of over-supplying the market, which he reacted to very cleverly.”

Asked if there was a risk some students may turn to art themselves as a result of this example, Mr Anderson said: “Why not? Gauguin was a stockbroker, Jeff Koons was a commodities trader. “It is like Andy Warhol said: ‘Great art is great business.’”
Damien_Hirst  Peter_Aspden  2012  Buisness  Commerce 
april 2012 by caliban
Damien Hirst’s four faces of commerce - FT.com
Sarah Kent, a critic who appears on the exhibition’s handheld video, said of Hirst’s display: “It works like advertising.”

That is true. There are some advertisements that shock and stir controversy, or sum up an era, and then lodge in the collective memory. Some are crudely straightforward, such as Wonderbra’s “Hello boys” ad. Others are redolent of heroic times, such as the US government’s Rosie the Riveter poster, summoning women to patriotic work during the second world war. I suspect Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde will be remembered long after it and he have gone. It is striking, illustrates the idea of art as a talking point, and will always be an advertisement for himself.
Damien_Hirst  Michael_Skapinker  2012  Commmerce  Buisness 
april 2012 by caliban
The Art of Data Visualization | Marvels - WSJ.com
This week the Tate Modern museum in London unveiled a Damien Hirst retrospective that's about as fresh as one of its featured pieces: "A Thousand Years" is an actual rotting cow's head. Why are we picking at these carcasses of creativity? We should instead be celebrating the really new and relevant: the rise of the data visualizers. Their medium is the one with momentum, the one genuinely changing how we think and feel. And it's about to boom.

At companies and universities, and far beyond, the goal of data-driven digital artists is clear, not cynical: convey complex concepts quickly and crisply. They want to generate not Art-with-a-capital-A, necessarily, but understanding. They take stone-cold data—units of information—and turn them into something warmly communicative. Beautiful, too. So they become a pleasure for us to absorb.
mdd  art  damien_hirst  103ja  8198  data_visualisation 
april 2012 by noisyoyster
Damien Hirst artwork defaced by Occupy protesters - Telegraph
Hirst is "the man who has defined the capitalist approach to art more than any other... he is the brash Goldman Sachs of the art world," states an article in The Occupied Times.
Damien_Hirst  2012  Hymn  Occupy  Graffitti  The_Occupied_Times 
april 2012 by caliban
Damien Hirst – review | Art and design | The Observer
The gift was in the first flush: the shark, the flies, the paschal lamb in its celestial afterlife of silver bubbles. That has been the steady line on Hirst for so long that one can scarcely remember when that flush was. He keeps returning to it, of course, reviving those allegories for the market he has created and sustained. But even the shark – smaller, its mouth wrenched open to make it appear as intimidating as the last – now looks as if it is yawning. The first may have been best, on the evidence of this show, but it was also the beginning of the end.
Laura_Cumming  2012  Exhibition  Review  Damien_Hirst  Tate_Moderm 
april 2012 by caliban
Death becomes him - FT.com
In every generation, one or two artists attain a celebrity so intense that it blinds us to serious assessment of their work. During the 1990s, Damien Hirst became the most famous artist in British history, yet also a mysterious one, whose iconic pieces – the shark, the rotting cow’s head – appeared to come from nowhere, impinging on the collective consciousness in a way that had nothing to do with museum endorsements or gallery career-building. Now the enfant terrible is tamed at last with a retrospective at Tate Modern: a beautifully installed, clear-sighted show, intellectually streamlined to concentrate on key themes. The effect is to desensationalise Hirst, placing him soberly in art historical rather than art market context, and inviting us to see his achievements straight for the first time.
Damien_Hirst  jackie_Wullschlager  2012  Tate_Moderm  Exhibition  Review 
april 2012 by caliban
Hirst opens at Tate as price of works falls - FT.com
Mr Hirst has been criticised for his spot paintings, a series of 1,400 works with evenly spaced different-coloured dots, because he employs assistants to paint them, rather than making them himself.
He said that he hoped the spot paintings would continue to be status symbols that the wealthy displayed on their walls like luxury goods, but he added that it was more important that people found them attractive.
“It amazes me that people still buy them but I always think about them beyond money. If you put one outside the pub would people take them? If you found it in the skip, people would take it,” he said.
Damien_Hirst  Hannah_Kuchler  2012  Tate_Moderm  Art_Market 
april 2012 by caliban

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