Category Archives: art

Damien Hirst: $200 Million Richer

The final results are in: the Damien Hirst auction at Sotheby’s raised £111.5 million, which is thisclose to $200 million. (It would have been comfortably over the $200 million level at any point until the pound collapsed at the beginning … Continue reading

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Hirst: Worst. Timing. Ever.

Let’s say you’re a nouveau-riche hedge-fund manager with a penchant for splashing your cash. Even so, today, of all days, you’re really not going to have any desire to kick off work early and go drop a few million bucks … Continue reading

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Takashi Murakami Ego Trip of the Day

Here’s the web page for the new iPod nano. There’s a couple of very hard to make out albums on the left, followed by seven recognizable ones. What’s special about the one I’ve pointed to? It’s the only one which … Continue reading

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Hirst: Calling the Top

Hirst ubiquity has now reached the point at which even sober-sided finance types like Nadav Manham have noticed it. Manham asks what I think, and so I’ll stick my neck out: I’m calling a top in the Hirst market. Calling … Continue reading

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Quinn’s Built-In Hedges

One of the most visible effects of the astonishing run-up in contemporary art prices is the soaring budgets for new works. It’s not just Damien Murakoons, either — everybody from Noble & Webster to Mariko Mori is making million-dollar sculptures … Continue reading

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UBS: Still Entrenched in the Art World

Count me in with Anthony Haden-Guest: for all their credit-related losses, the big private banks and wealth managers like UBS and Lehman Brothers are not going to ease up on their sponsorship of art-world events. Guest quotes a couple of … Continue reading

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Leon Black: The Picasso Connection

The art world has no √©minence more grise than John Richardson, art historian extraordinaire and author of an enormous biography of Picasso which, three volumes in, is still 40 (of Picasso’s) years from completion. Part of the problem is that … Continue reading

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The Blitheness of the Art World

I’ve written about Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World a couple of times, so I feel I ought to mention what I thought of the book as a whole. Your mileage might vary: by sheerest coincidence the book … Continue reading

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Hirst Announces the End of an Era

Are there too many Damien Hirst paintings? Some people are worried that there are, or at least that Hirst was putting the market in his own works in peril by making so many. Those people are relieved that he’s ceasing … Continue reading

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Selling Iowa’s Pollock

After the University of Iowa was severely damaged by floods in June, a novel way of paying for the damage was mooted: selling Mural, the great Pollock in the university’s art museum. It didn’t take long for arts blogger Tyler … Continue reading

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US Shortchanges Artists

A generation ago, "percent for art" schemes started taking off in culturally-enlightened parts of the world. The idea is that when a new public (or even private) building is constructed, 1% of the budget should be used to fund and … Continue reading

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How Auctions Drive the Art Market

The first chapter of Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World is on auctions, and it’s a corker. Thornton not only has sharp insights, she also expresses them beautifully: The hammer punctuates and passes judgment. It acts as a … Continue reading

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Art in Textbooks

David Galenson has a list of the greatest works of art of the 20th Century. The Demoiselles are in top place, which is reasonable enough. But the list gets rather screwy after that: Tatlin’s model of his unbuilt Monument to … Continue reading

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Art and the Profit Motive

I can’t face the idea of writing another 3,000-word book review, so I’ll blog Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World as I’m reading it. I haven’t even got past the introduction yet, but I’ve already found one sentence … Continue reading

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Marion Maneker, Art-Market Blogger Extraordinaire

What is it about blogs launched in May this year? Yesterday I lauded John Hempton of Bronte Capital; today I flicked through the archive of Art Market Monitor, and was blown away at the sophistication and insight of its blogger, … Continue reading

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Hirst at Sotheby’s

A pair of unembeddable YouTube videos appeared quietly last Friday, and have made not much of a splash: Damien Hirst Beautiful Inside My Head Forever 1 and Damien Hirst Beautiful Inside My Head Forever 2 have been viewed less than … Continue reading

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The Economic Paradoxes of Contemporary Art

Don Thompson has written, by far, the best book on the economics of the contemporary art market yet written. It might seem like a narrow area, not enough to get a book out of – yet after wolfing down these … Continue reading

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The $11 Million Goncharova

Christie’s had a blow-out sale last night, selling $284.5 million of art in its Impressionist and Modern sale in London. That’s an eye-popping figure, since Impressionist and Modern sales have been a little bit out of favor of late (the … Continue reading

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The Quixotic Quest for Growth, Non-Profit Edition

Carol Vogel reports on Philippe Vergne, the new director of Dia: Among Mr. Vergne’s biggest challenges will be to find a permanent exhibition space in New York City for Dia, a nonprofit institution devoted to contemporary art… Mr. Vergne, 42, … Continue reading

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The Art Trading Fund: Getting Desperate

Liz Gunnison has an interesting take on the news that Charles Saatchi has been appointed an advisor to the Art Trading Fund. You might recognise the name: I said twice last summer that it was doomed to fail, and this … Continue reading

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Trickle-Down Economics, Art Edition

There’s been a lot of talk about the UK’s "non-doms": rich foreigners who generally live in very expensive London property, thereby driving up the cost of living for everybody else while paying little or nothing in the way of taxes. … Continue reading

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Art: The Last Unburst Bubble

Christie’s sale on Tuesday night was a stunning success, ratifying the ridiculous levels to which contemporary art has soared in recent years. The Sotheby’s sale on Wednesday night, by contrast, took the market to a whole new level. Not only … Continue reading

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Contemporary Art: As Strong as Ever

Bursting art bubble? What bursting art bubble? The Christie’s sale last night looked for all the world as though it was taking place at the height of the party: not only did it bring in a very impressive $348 million, … Continue reading

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Robert Rauschenberg is Dead

Go read Michael Kimmelman’s obituary, it’s one of the best things he’s written. Kicking around Europe and North Africa with the artist Cy Twombly for a few months after that, he began to collect and assemble objects — bits of … Continue reading

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When Artists Go Corporate

Time Out New York declared last year that the Kalahari, in Harlem, was the ugliest condo in the city (no mean feat that). "This is reminiscent of the Kalahari Desert," they said. "Municipal buildings in the Kalahari Desert, that is." … Continue reading

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