Artistic disintermediation

by on July 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm in The Arts | Permalink

A small menagerie of new Damien Hirst pickled animals took a bow yesterday, including a new shark, a zebra, a calf with solid gold horns and hoofs valued at up to £12m, and even a unicorn – a white foal fitted with a resin horn, rather than an apparition from a fairytale.

All have been churned out by his small army of assistants this year for an auction at Sotheby’s in September which will sell more than 200 pieces. The auction is predicted to raise £65m, comfortably setting a new world record for the artist, and blazing a trail which other artists will watch with interest, of bypassing the gallery and dealer system and going straight to auction.

Both the Gagosian Gallery, and Jay Jopling’s White Cube, his American and British dealers, have given the auction their blessing, possibly through gritted teeth…

If you are a dealer this is big news and indeed bad news.  But why not?  Hirst doesn’t need gallery publicity or buyer recruitment.  Since galleries tend to sell their best works to loyal repeat buyers ("why?" is a good question), this implies that "seniority" will matter less and less for assembling a good collection.  That favors foreign buyers and hedge fund types.  Here is the link.  Here is Felix Salmon’s very good post on the economics of contemporary art.

1 Anonymous July 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

The true definition of artistic disintermediation would be to disintermediate the artist and the art work entirely and just set your money on fire.

2 Ted Baar July 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Hedge Fund Buyers…hmmmmmm. These would be the same buyers who gobbled up the sub prime mortage backed securities.

Is there a way to do a long term short on art?

3 roland July 30, 2008 at 4:07 am

The why is pretty obvious.

It’s the same reason investment bankers give their best customers access to hot IPOs. Also before you dismiss this system for art or for securities I can think of several good reasons that companies still use investment bankers for their new issue securities. Those reasons are very close to the reasons that artists still use galleries to sell their art.

4 傢俱 December 3, 2008 at 10:08 pm

I like this site, at the dawn of Christmas, like all the sites frequented by friends sent holiday wishes ahead of time, a happy holiday.

5 機票 December 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm


6 aion gold May 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm

what a pity animals

7 cheap aion money May 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

it is hard to believe

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