Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update: Make No Bones About It

The results are in! And boy would Scrooge McDuck approve. Sotheby's and Damien Hirst experienced a groudbreaking and historice two-day auction, bringing in a remarkable sum of £111,464,800 (US$200,752,179). This amount is double the expectant total sales amount reported. The Managing Director of Sotheyby's Europe, Patrick Van Maris, reported that the sale "has broken major new ground and set several new and important benchmarks – including a new auction record for a work by the artist." Reported sales show that Damien Hirst attracted a new set of buyers and bidders from a broad range of geographical locations. Of the bidders in the sale, 16% were new to Sotheby's and 35% were new to the Contemporary Art department.

The stats and records set by this sale are endless. The highest sale was the The Golden Calf: a calf made of 18 carat gold, glass, goldplated steel, silicone and formaldehyde solution with Carrara marble plinth, selling at US$18,661,796), a new auction record for a work by the artist in sterling.

So where do we go from here? After the initials, "Oh my!"s and "Unbelievable!"s I immediately thought, we isn't it funny that this week, a week of global financial crisis and the largest bankruptcy in US history, leaving millions of people fretting about their financial future or their jobs, groundbreaking history and records are made in the art world. Despite a gloomy economy there are still a few, 600 plus in fact, who were able to spend outlandish amounts on Hirst's work by what he considers "a more democratic way of selling art."

So what convinced buyers to purchase his eye-catching works redolent of death and decay — pickled animals, rotting cows' heads, diamond-encrusted skulls. Hirst claimed he would no longer be making spin or butterfly paintings and that there would be far fewer dead animals and almost no dot paintings. So is that all the more reason to go out an spend 18 mil on an animal in formaldehyde?

One thing's for sure this week's events is reassuring for anyone in the art market with doubts of success in this economy. Now, my next point, how can i obtain Sotheby's bidder list to lure them to the 2009 Biggs Museum Gala? Any suggestions?

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