Call him Dimien Hirst. The British celebropop artist who made his bones with a shark carcass and a platinum human skull covered with 8,601 diamonds is now reaping skeletal returns on his artwork, as this recent Businessweek piece reported:
For all his celebrity, Hirst’s stock in the art market has experienced a stunning deflation. According to data compiled by the firm Artnet, Hirst works acquired during his commercial peak, between 2005 and 2008, have since resold at an average loss of 30 percent. And that probably understates the decline—judging from the dropoff in sales volume, collectors aren’t bringing their big-ticket Hirsts to market. A third of the more than 1,700 Hirst pieces offered at auctions since 2009 have failed to sell at all—they’ve been “burned,” in the terminology of the art world. “He has way underperformed,” says Michael Moses, a retired New York University business professor who maintains a financial index for art. “He has lots and lots of negative returns.”
So maybe it’s no surprise to the arterati that this news appeared in the New York Times ArtsBeat blog yesterday:
Less than a year after the Gagosian Gallery gave Damien Hirst all 11 of its spaces around the world to show his spot paintings, word comes that the bad-boy British artist will no longer be represented by Gagosian, where he has shown on and off for 17 years.
“We wish him continued success for the future,’’ a statement issued by the gallery, confirming his sudden departure, said.
On Thursday, Science Ltd., Mr. Hirst’s company, told the Financial Times that the gallery owner “Larry Gagosian and Damien have reached an amicable decision to part company,” adding that the artist would continue his relationship with the White Cube Gallery in London. But the question remains whether Mr. Hirst will look for another gallery to show his work in New York, where he has a large number of big collectors.
Except maybe not so much, if you believe the Businessweek piece.
Looks to the hardworking staff like the sharks are now circling Mr. Hirst, instead of the other way around.
Much of this modern so-called “art” is an elaborate practical joke, mostly played on the public and buyers of same. It’s also a variaiton of the “greater fool” theory. When the music stops, and it all comes crashing down, who will have the last laugh? Not the artists and their dealers, that’s for sure.
I dunno, Bill. But I’m pretty sure who won’t have the last laugh – the suckers who bought them. Hirst is still laughing all the way to the bank.
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