I've been following the story in the NY Times on Damien Hirst's decision to circumvent his dealers (Larry Gagosian and Jay Jopling) and hold an auction of his works directly with Sotheby's. The auction took place yesterday and proved very successful, despite the simultaneous financial downturn.
I find the fact that an artist (even a major one like Hirst) is taking his art directly to the buyers very interesting in terms of what it means for the art market and the importance of dealers - will more artists start selling this way? Although the possibilities are limited, there are certainly more than Hirst who could. And in terms of what it means for the relationship of the art market to the economy - is Tobias Meyer, the worldwide head of Sotheby's contemporary art division, right when he suggests that Hirst is so important as an artist that he's able to defy economic trends? Or is Jose Mugrabi, a New York dealer, right when he says, “Today people believe more in art than the stock market. At least it’s something you can enjoy”?
Read the two articles here and here.
image: Tom Fecht for The New York Times